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Cougars look to repeat, improve on record-setting ways

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Trinity Lutheran enjoyed by far its best girls basketball season in school history last year, going 17-4.

The Cougars, however, lost their sectional-opener to a Springs Valley team they had beaten during the regular season. That has reaffirmed Trinity’s drive to capture its first sectional title.

“Anything coming up short is going to be a disappointment for us,” Trinity coach Mike Lang said. “We’re looking for that first sectional title and to be playing a couple Saturdays after that. That’s one reason we’ve gone out and strengthened our schedule.”

The Cougars, while still playing mostly Class A schools, have added Class 2A Eastern Greene and Class 3A Brownstown Central and Indianapolis Arlington. Trinity opens the season tonight at Class 2A Clarksville.

Trinity Lutheran Cougars

Last year’s record: 17-4

Coach: Mike Lang

Key losses: Sara Onken, Emma Franke, Taylor Royalty, Lacey Gengelbach

Returning starters: 5-8 junior Haley Cough (9.9 ppg, 3.0 apg), 5-6 junior Brianna Sons (9.8 ppg), 5-4 senior Kyra Klosterman (6.0 ppg, 3.0 spg), 5-9 junior Allison Posey (7.7 ppg)

Other key returners: 5-7 junior Mariah Nolan (2.1 ppg)

Four starters return for the Cougars, led by 5-foot-8 junior Haley Couch (9.9 ppg, 3.0 apg) and 5-6 junior point guard Brianna Sons (9.8 ppg). Kyra Klosterman (6.0 ppg, 3.0 spg), a 5-4 senior, also was a starter, and 5-9 junior Allison Posey (7.7 ppg) started about half the season.

“I’m excited about what we have coming back,” Lang said. “I have a three-headed monster with scorers, and Mariah Nolan is just an outstanding shooter. Our offense is built just to spread it around.”

Mariah Nolan, a 5-7 junior, averaged only 2.1 points at the varsity level but scored 22 a game at the JV level.

“The knock on Mariah was, she couldn’t guard anybody,” Lang said. “Now, we have that defense caught up with her offense, Mariah is going to play a big role for us this year.”

Klosterman was a member of the Cougars’ volleyball teams that reached the Class A state title game last year and the final four this season. Another starter on those teams, 5-10 senior Hannah Barker, is back out for basketball after sitting out last season.

Lang will look to two other players — 5-7 sophomore Angi Bergstedt and 5-5 sophomore Kaitlyn Wright — to provide depth.

“I think this is the first time in school history where there’s actually expectations going into the season,” Lang said. “What we have to do is, we have to fulfill those expectations.”

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