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Warriors build around 2 returning starters

Senior captains and three-year starters Kayla Kraemer and Gretchen Kletscher will be counted on to lead the Brainerd Warriors this season while teammates learn their roles and garner experience.

Kraemer started all but one of 25 games last season and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 214 points from her point guard position.

Kletscher, a post, played in five games last season before suffering a concussion, which led to surgery on her brain, and sidelined her for the remainder of the season.

“I expect Kayla and Gretchen to be the leaders of the team because they have the most experience,” Warriors coach Brian McAllister said. “After that we are inexperienced. We have six seniors but they don’t have a lot of experience.

Kraemer led the team in assists (73), was third in steals (34) and added 70 rebounds and 12 blocks.

“Kayla has gotten better every year,” McAllister said. “She’s a three-year starter at point guard, which is probably the toughest position on the floor to play. The point guard is a coach on the floor. She makes sure everything we’re doing is what we’re supposed to be doing. She’s handling the ball most of the time, and she’s trying to score.”

Kletscher averaged 7.6 points in her five games, made 17 of 23 free throws (73.9 percent) and added 31 rebounds.

“Gretchen is kind of that all-around kid,” McAllister said. “She has the size that she can play post. She has the ballhandling skills where we can put her out on a wing, take her kid and drive to the basket. She’s got good range, with a 15-to 18-foot shot.

“She’s going to be a pretty critical part of our team because she can do so many things. If we need to put her at the top trapping where we need a big, tall kid at the point she can do that. She can guard bigger post players underneath. She’s a versatile player who we hope we can plug into different positions depending on who we’re playing.”

Other seniors include Nicole Marquart, Erica Trafas, Kenzie Veith and Sonja Hildebrandt. Veith and Trafas played in one varsity game apiece last season. Marquart was a point guard on the junior varsity last season until suffering a knee injury and missing most of the season. Hildebrandt is a foreign exchange student.

Juniors Chloe Miller, Taylor Johnshoy and Elise Carlson received varsity playing time in 2010-2011. In six games Miller scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Johnshoy appeared in five games, with two points and three rebounds. Carlson played in one game.

“Everyone’s going to have to play a role,” McAllister said. “Not everyone is going to play as much as they want. We need kids who are willing to fill roles, like when Kayla needs a rest, we’ll tell someone that you’ll be in a couple minutes, and when Kayla’s rested she’s back in the game. We will need kids to play defense for one or two series. They’ve got to be willing to play roles.

“What I give this group of freshmen through seniors is credit for coming in and working this summer on fundamentals. That’s what we need in our program.

Warriors roster

Seniors: Kayla Kraemer (PG), Gretchen Kletscher (P), Nicole Marquart G, Erica Trafas G, Kenzie Veith P, Sonja Hildebrandt G

Juniors: Hannah Kangas G, Chloe Miller P, Taylor Johnshoy G, Elise Carlson G, Mackenzie Lego G, Heather Jaeche P, Courtney Jones (G)

Sophomores: Maria West G, Mackenzie Dondelinger P,

Freshmen: Jenna Degen G, Tedi Ramberg (P)

At a glance

Head coach: Brian McAllister, second season.

2010-11 Brainerd record: 6-12 CLC, 8-17 overall.

Captains: Kayla Kraemer, Gretchen Kletscher

Assistant coaches: Shane Jordan, Troy Nelson (sophomores), Dylan Knipple