WAYNE – With no jamboree games across the state and a delayed start for Wayne Community Schools winter sporting practices, the Blue Devil girls basketball team will be joining their boys team later this week to open their season.
The coaching staff and players in the Wayne High girls program will look to get back on the winning track after finishing with a 17-9 record three seasons ago. WHS has since combined for 11-32 the past two years.
Head coach Rocky Ruhl will lead the Wayne High girls and be joined by the same assistants as last year being Matt Schaub and Brendan Dorcey along with volunteer coach Megan Finn.
Coach Ruhl said with the delay in the start practices things are looking good.
“The girls are playing hard,” said Ruhl. “They’re doing a lot of good things in terms of listening, working hard and pushing the ball. The attitude is very positive, they’re really motivated. So, I really like what I’ve been seeing from the girls.”
The team was scheduled to start conditioning November 9 as after-school activities were put on pause for the week as the first practice was November 16.
After dropping back-to-back games last year to Battle Creek (64-59) and Ponca (55-32), the Blue Devil girls won four straight. The team then suffered 14 consecutive losses before beating Class A Omaha South (59-39) but then lost in the subdistrict round to Norfolk Catholic (43-31).
WHS will be without their leading scorer (12 ppg) from a year ago being Frankie Klausen who is a member of the Midland University women’s basketball team. The Blue Devils will return over 70% of their scoring as sophomore Brooklyn Kruse averaged 11.8 points per game to go along with team-high 5.5 rebounds per game and 1.5 blocks per game.
Junior Rubie Klausen (7.4 ppg/3.0 assists per game/2.5 steals per game), senior Emily Longe (6.3 ppg), junior Kendall Dorey (5.4 ppg in seven games) and junior Mikaela McManigal (3.5 ppg) will also be key contributors.
“I’m just really happy with the girls and hopefully we can play,” Ruhl added. “You now, COVID is a big thing and it’s a different year. We just want to play and get these girls some experience and keep moving forward and getting better as the season goes on.”
The Blue Devils will return seven letter winners as all seven started at some point last year. The 11 upperclassmen broken down include two seniors, six juniors and three sophomores as they’ll be joined by seven freshmen.
“We have a lot of younger girls and some with some experience to come in and to spell them,” Ruhl mentioned. “To not let us step back when we do sub. So, I think what I want to really see from the girls is just keep pushing, keep playing hard, not worry about mistakes and to have fun on the floor.”
Something Wayne High will look to improve on will be their 20 turnovers a game they had last season.
Wayne High is set to open their season this Friday with girls and boys JV games opening at 4:30 p.m. The varsity girls will tipoff around 6:15 p.m. followed by the boys game at 7:45 p.m. The Bravettes have won back-to-back against WHS including a 49-43 win in Battle Creek in 2018. Wayne Highs last win in the girls game over Battle Creek was on December 1, 2017 in Wayne, 69-57.
Coach Ruhl mentioned he has seen Battle Creek’s athleticism really go up.
“We’re going to have to be ready for a team that likes to put some pressure on,” Ruhl mentioned. “Can play both man and zone and will attack us on our defensive end. So, we’re going to have to make sure we get back on defense to stop those easy baskets and hopefully score some for ourselves.”
The home opener of Wayne High basketball is scheduled for Saturday, December 5 against Ponca. The double header will be carried on Big Red Country ‘KTCH’ 104.9 and waynedailynews.com with pregame coverage set for about 5 p.m. The girls varsity game will tipoff at 5:15 p.m. from the Jr/Sr high school at the same time as the JV boys game from the elementary school as the varsity boys will follow around 7 p.m. from the Jr/Sr high school during the same time as the JV girls game at the elementary school.