12-1-11-WK Sydney Miller 1

St. Mary’s Sydney Miller led the Saints in scoring last season with 10.7 points per game.

WILL KINCAID

Fortunately for St. Mary's the losing stopped in February.

A 2-18 girls basketball season ground to a halt for the Saints in a 67-61 play-in game loss at Williston.

However, there were no losses to graduation in May. There wasn't a senior on the Saints roster last winter - a season in which St. Mary's had as many coaches as it did victories.

Corey Frink surrendered the coaching reins to interim replacement Russ Ferrie in February.

The new Saints coach is Scott Jung, a veteran boys and girls coach in the Class B ranks. Jung last coached the Center-Stanton boys in 2009-10.

Jung inherits a team that includes six players who played more than 350 minutes last season.

Sydney Miller, a 5-foot-8 guard, led the Saints in scoring (10.7 points per game).

She was followed closely by 5-5 guard Rachel Power (9.8) and 5-9 forward-center Dominique Giesen (9.2). All are juniors.

Other full- or part-time starters returning are 5-7 junior guard-forward Taylor Gendreau (6.8), 5-6 junior guard-forward Jarren Fallgatter (6.2) and 5-8 senior guard-forward Kourtney Rummel (6.0).

Fallgatter led the team in rebounding (7.5 rpg) with Giesen second (6.0) and Gendreau third (5.0). Power led the way in assists with 3.8 per game.

Turnovers, a bugaboo for years, bedeviled the Saints again last season. They coughed the ball up 18.3 times per game compared to 13.9 for their opponents.

Jung said turnovers must be brought under control if the Saints are to right the ship. "Turnovers, I think, are one of the top priorities in winning or losing a game," he said.

Rebounds were also a problem. The Saints came up short, getting outrebounded 49.3-46.0 under the glass.

"I'm a big believer in rebounding to control the game," Jung said. "We have to be sure we're in position at all times to maximize our rebounding opportunities."

Jung likes the rebounding aggressiveness he's seen from some of his players in preseason workouts and wants to see that intensity spread.

"A couple of them really do scrap to get rebounds, and we need that mentality from everyone on the floor," Jung said. "We can't afford to give up second, third or fourth shots."

What summer basketball and preseason practice have told Jung is some of his players have benefitted from being thrown to the wolves.

"You can see the maturity on the court. They play with a lot of composure," he said. "... We'll have to try to harness that and use it to our advantage."

The Saints are kind of a vanilla team when it comes to size. Five players check in at

5-8 or better, but Giesen, at 5-9, is the tallest player on the team.

"We're going to be real blue-collar. We'll have to scrap, do the little things and do the hard work not everyone wants to do to be successful," Jung said. "... We do lack size, but we can make up for it with quickness and athleticism."

Jung said several of his players are interchangeable, a feature he hopes to use to the Saints' advantage.

"We do have guards who can go inside and get points ... and we do have posts who can come outside and hit shots, so we're kind of versatile," he said. "That does present teams with some matchup problems."

Jung would like to push the tempo on offense and make use of defensive pressure.

"We'd like to be a little bit more up-tempo (offensively)," he said. "... We'd like to use pressing and trapping-type scenarios where we can create turnovers before opposing teams pound it inside on us."

With a roster full of experienced players, Jung is counting on some depth right out of the chute.

"I don't see a lot of dropoff one through nine," Jung said. "They're all pretty close, and each brings her own special aspects to the game."

Jung said there won't be any wins falling into the Saints' laps during the coming season. He puts Century, Minot and Mandan in an upper tier and sees everyone else will be scratching and gouging.

"You have the top three who are going to be among the top teams in the state ... and I can see it being a dogfight for the other spots," he said.

St. Mary's opens the season with two home games. They play host to Turtle Mountain on Friday and Century on Dec. 13.

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