Stoughton finished third in the Badger South Conference last year, but will have a brand new starting lineup this season.
The Vikings graduated all five starters from last year’s squad, including the top three all-conference players in Peighton Trieloff, Emma Kissling and Ashely Nelson.
“As a whole, I think this team has an opportunity to surprise people,” Stoughton coach Brad Pickett said. “I like the pieces we have returning, and we’ll mix those in with the new faces. We’ll have a shot to be successful.”
The Vikings return five seniors who played off the bench last season. The top returning scorers are Myranda Kotlowski (4.1 points per game) and Delaney Seidl (3.9), Megan Marggi (2.7), Riley Royston (1.5) and Micah Zaemisch (1.4).
“Our seniors are hungry to prove a lot of people wrong,” Pickett said. “They have put in a lot of work in the offseason.”
Stoughton has lost to Monroe three straight years in the postseason. The Vikings lost to the Cheesemakers in a Division 2 regional final last year. The two years before that, Stoughton fell to Monroe in the sectional semifinals.
Monona Grove won the Badger South Conference title last year, snapping Monroe’s two-year reign atop the league. However, the Silver Eagles have to replace standout McKenna Warnock (29.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game), who is now playing basketball at the University of Iowa. The Cheesemakers have three starters back, but graduated two college players — University of Wisconsin-Madison point guard Sydney Hilliard and Lindenwood University’s Emily Benzschawel.
Oregon returns first-team all-conference seniors Liz Uhl and Kaitlyn Schimpf. Uhl averaged 14.1 points per game, made 33 3-pointers and shot 78.8 percent from the free-throw line (82-for-104). Schrimpf averaged 10.8 points per game, and senior Izzie Peterson is another playmaker for the Panthers.
“Oregon is the team to beat,” Pickett said. “The conference should be very competitive. If we come together, we should have a shot.”
It won’t take long for the Vikings to see how they stack up. Stoughton hosts Verona in the season opener Tuesday, Nov. 19, and then plays at New Berlin Eisenhower on Friday, Nov. 22. The Vikings also play at Mukwonago on Friday, Jan. 31.
“Our conference is tough, our regional is tough, and that’s why we load up our nonconference schedule,” Pickett said.