By Chris Bennett

Sports Correspondent

The Elkhorn Area High School girls basketball team is in the midst of a renaissance that will, hopefully, continue through this season and seasons beyond.

The program, moribund for years, returned to relevance in the Southern Lakes Conference and southeast Wisconsin last season under the leadership of first-year coach Jeff Brown. Last season marked Brown’s 12th overall as a head coach.

Elkhorn went 10-14 last season and finished 4-10 in the SLC, which was good for sixth place.

A sub-.500 record, both overall and in SLC play last season, might not sound like much. Bear in mind, though, that the Elks won four games from the 2014-15 season through the 2016-17 season. The streak of ignominy included a winless season (0-23) in 2015-16.

Elkhorn’s 2017-18 season came to a close with a 66-40 loss at Union Grove Feb. 23 in a WIAA Division 2 regional final. The Elks beat Fort Atkinson 50-43 Feb. 20 at Elkhorn in a regional semifinal.

The Elks return eight letter winners this season – four seniors and four juniors.

Guards Payton Christensen and Ryley Rand and forwards Chloe Ehrhardt and Jean Jacobs are the senior letter winners. Center Maddie Ivey and guards Hannah Koss, Haley Remington and Morgan Hunter are the returning junior letter winners.

“We will be leaning on the returning starters from last year,” Brown said. “Payton and Ryley are great senior leaders, and a lot is expected of them.”

Remington is a returning starter from last season, and earned Honorable Mention All-Southern Lakes Conference honors. Ivey is also a returning starter.

Newcomers Rachel DeVries and Chantel Schneider, both junior guards, and forward Anastasia Grochowski and center Dillyn Ivey, are also expected to contribute.

“We have had great leadership from the seniors and kids that have bought into the culture and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Brown said. “Overall, we have pretty good depth. The players had a great summer, and have had a good opening week of practice.”

Brown said the Elks need to find consistent scoring, and said those who can provide the points are on the roster, but need to step up.

Rand will start at the point guard position in place of Morgan Hunter, who is lost for the season due to an injury.

“After taking over a program that had one varsity win in two years, we won 10 last year, and we expect to continue to improve,” Brown said. “We expect to battle in every game.”

 
 

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