Waukon girls basketball team returns a couple starters, many contributors from 2021 State Tournament team

2021-2022 Waukon girls basketball team ... Left to right - Front row: Azlynn Cota, Brinley Jones, Jayden Knox, Maggie Criswell, Paige Hansmeier; Back row: Emily Bieber, Grace Stegen, Breckan Stewart, Emma Palmer, Kaitlyn Krambeer. Not pictured: Brenna Berns, Mackenzie Kaeser. All but Azlynn Cota are returning varsity letterwinners from last season’s team.

The Waukon girls basketball team will enter the 2021-2022 season fresh off the heels of one of its best seasons in five-player program history following a 19-5 season record that ended up with a second Class 3A State Tournament qualification in the past three years. That season result marks the second time in the past 10 seasons the Lady Indians have reached that 19-win mark and the season grand finale that is every team’s ultimate destination.

Although a great deal of senior and statistical leadership from that squad was lost to graduation, the Indians return letterwinning experience in nearly every member of this season’s squad, as all team members earn a varsity letter from seasons that end up with State Tournament qualification. Included in those returnees from last season’s State Tournament team is a pair of starters in senior Brinley Jones and junior Maggie Criswell, who, along with the junior pair of Jayden Knox and Emma Palmer, provide a vast majority of the returning statistical leadership from last season’s squad.

What this year’s returnees will have to replace is not only the leadership in every single statistical category from last season, but also some record-setting and career results that rank among the best in the history of the Waukon girls basketball five-player program. Graduated seniors Annika Headington (who is now starting as a freshman for the Mt. Mercy University women’s basketball team) and Margaret Wacker claimed the top two spots in nearly every statistical category last season and fellow graduate Bailey Shafer dialed in the team’s most three-point baskets, with all three etching their names among the best players in Waukon five-player program history in their respective specialties, which, for Headington, was nearly everything as she was a four-year starter for the basketball Tribe.

Although those types of contributions will be very difficult to replace, this year’s squad will be bolstered by those who played right alongside and learned from those now graduated senior leaders. Many of this season’s returning veterans turned in statistical efforts right on the heels of the leadership results those graduates took with them, and did so only as sophomores last winter.

The Indians were scheduled to get their 2021-2022 season underway Tuesday, November 23 at Jesup in an early-season non-conference match-up. The bucket Tribe will then play back-to-back non-conference contests to start next week, hosting MFL/MarMac Monday, November 29 before traveling to Dubuque Wahlert Tuesday, November 30 but then not returning to court action until Tuesday, December 6 at Clayton Ridge.

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