Head coach: Dan McClure (second season). Assistant coach: Vanessa Kobyluck.
Last year: Wheeler finished 13-10, its most wins since posting 15 in 2008. The Lions won a game in the state tournament before losing in the second round.
Returning to varsity:
Seniors: Grace Armstrong, Molly Butremovic (C, captain), Annie Dussault (G, captain). Juniors: Addie Hauptmann (G), Maddie Perkins (F), Leah Pion (F). Sophomores: Michelle Macinao (F), Skyler Morgan (F), Marissa Perkins (F).
New to varsity: None.
Outlook: Wheeler looks to build upon last year’s success while taking on the challenge of a more difficult schedule.
Hauptmann, the point guard, averaged, 9.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game last season. Pion averaged 8.4 points, and Butremovic averaged 9.7 points and 7.6 rebounds. The trio also provides plenty of experience for the Lions.
“Offensively, we are looking for everyone to contribute,” McClure said. “They all are incredibly versatile and they love playing up tempo.”
Defensively, the Lions like to apply pressure with a variety of presses.
“We probably press more than any team in the league,” McClure said. “We like to give teams a lot of different looks.”
Wheeler did miss 10 days of practice time early due to a coronavirus issue.
“I was impressed with what they retained. They remained physical and they were in shape,” McClure said.
Even after winning 13 games, the Lions had three losses in which the margin was two points or fewer. Wheeler could have easily finished with 16 victories.
Coach’s take: “This senior group, and the upperclassmen in general take a lot of pride in what they anticipated as being a successful year in terms of scheduling challenges and the feeling that they’ve earned the right to play tougher competition. They’ve worked hard to redefine the program in terms of outsiders’ views and personal identity. ... To give the seniors a season to reflect upon in terms of pride and work ethic may be our greatest chance to experience success.”
— Keith Kimberlin