No All-Suburban selection Cassidy Mihalko, no stalwart leaders like Jenny Eickhorst or Katie Nord either.
So, no problems for the Franklin girls basketball team this winter, right?
Well, coach Tony Kathrens is cautiously optimistic as long as he can keep junior point guard Nala Mudd's shoulder in one place. Mudd was all over the place wreaking havoc during the first three-quarters of the Sabers' 46-41 win over Kettle Moraine last Friday at the Brookfield Central Thanksgiving Shootout until her carefully kept-in-place shoulder popped out and she had to leave the game.
"It's a situation she's been dealing with for about a year," Kathrens said. "We'll hold her out about two weeks and get it rested. Hopefully have her ready for the Oak Creek game (on Dec. 20)."
Mudd will be one of those Kathrens relies on as he looks to build on the long record of success the Sabers have built. Franklin was 21-5 last year and advanced to the WIAA sectional final.
Aside from the 5-7 Mudd, Kathrens will also rely on 5-8 senior forward Morgan McCuen, 5-10 sophomore Carly Graverson who came on strong as a freshman late last season; 5-8 senior Taylor Schell and 5-10 senior forward Montana Mack.
Mack missed all of last season with a knee injury and her return means a world to the athleticism of the Sabers. She had a critical block of a three-point attempt late in the Kettle Moraine game to seal the victory.
"She really changes our team," Kathrens said. "She gives us a level of comfort in the middle that we didn't have before. She also drives to the basket well."
Others whom Kathrens will rely on include 5-10 junior Paige Bobos, 5-11 sophomore Sarah Neumann, 5-6 junior Kristen Mahan, 5-8 junior Jada Falzon and 5-10 sophomore Eva Oklobdzija.
"I think we can go about 11 deep this year," said Kathrens, whose team also defeated Greendale, 52-29, in a non-conference game on Nov. 26, "and that'll be an improvement over the seven or so we used last year.
"We're going to have to try and win some games differently this year whether it makes sense at the time or not to do it."
As usual, the Sabers will put great trust in their 1-3-1 defense.
"We're going to be athletic," Kathrens said. "And we're going to more free-form this year so it'll be a little harder to game plan for us. We just have to know when we have to run a set and when we can push the ball."
In the win over Kettle Moraine, the Sabers had to rally late, hitting several critical free throws down the stretch to erase a deficit.
Schell led the way with 15 points as Mudd had six and Graverson five.
In the win over Greendale, Mack and Graverson had 12 points each while Bobos had seven and Schell six.
Franklin will open Southeast Conference play at home Friday against Racine Horlick.
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