AUDUBON — With two standout players returning to a team that picked up 15 wins last season and made it to the Iowa Class 1A regional quarterfinals, the Audubon girls’ basketball team is set to make an impact in the Western Iowa Conference.
After posting their best record since the 2015-16 season the Wheelers lost four seniors but, arguably the teams two best players, juniors Aleah Hermansen and Jaci Christensen, will return to lead a squad with high expectations.
Hermansen led the conference with 253 points and averaged 14.7 points per game. Christensen was right behind averaging 12.5 points per game while leading the team with just under nine rebounds per game. Hermansen grabbed just under seven rebounds and was second in the conference in steals.
Those numbers alone should give Wheeler fans optimism for the future. But consider that as a team the Wheelers committed the fourth fewest turnovers (215) in the conference, were fourth in total points (853) and average points per game (53).
With a solid core of seniors, Kaitlyn Nielsen, Johanna Sauers and Kodie Sporrer along with juniors Hannah Thygesen and Kate Tessman all with another year of experience under their belts, it’s not out of the question that the Wheelers could improve on those numbers and rank at the top of the conference.
But it won’t be easy. The Western Iowa Conference features last year’s conference champion AHSTW and runner up and state qualifier Logan-Magnolia. IKM Manning, who finished third in the conference, made it to the state semifinals.
AHSTW figures to be the preseason favorite to repeat as conference champion and will return three seniors that all averaged double figures but after that it could be anyone’s ball game.
South Central Calhoun is first on the schedule, coming Monday, Nov. 30, at Lake City. The Wheelers will get an idea of where they figure in the WIC mix early on when they host AHSTW on Dec. 1.
Email Jeff Lundquist at firstname.lastname@example.org