Reinhardt takes over reins of Grafton girls’ team with shared focus on winning
It didn’t take long for members of the Grafton girls’ basketball team to make a good impression on their new coach.
“They’re a very, very hard-working group of kids, very coachable,” said Steve Reinhardt, who has started his first season at the varsity helm with the Black Hawks.
“I really like their ability to work together and teach each other. They have great intensity in practice.”
Reinhardt knows a few things about basketball and how it should be played. He has a tough act to follow at Grafton, succeeding longtime coach Bob Maronde, who stepped down after 19 seasons, two state championships and six conference titles to take over the school’s boys’ basketball program.
However, Reinhardt won eight league championships in 18 years with the Slinger girls’ team before spending last season coaching a Brown Deer squad that went 10-14 with no seniors.
“I’m really happy to be here. Bob did a great job with the program, and I’m hoping to continue that tradition,” he said.
The Black Hawks lost their top player from last season, guard Hannah Eichler, to graduation along with regulars Kim Schacht and Tess Safstrom. Eichler led them in scoring, rebounding and assists and is now playing at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Grafton will also miss its top returning player, forward Sam Gosewehr, until at least January. The 6-foot senior averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season but tore an ACL in a summer game and is still recuperating.
Even so, the Hawks have plenty of talent to help them through the learning curve that comes with coaching changes. Their returnees include senior guards Haley Orlowski and Sam Smith, senior forward Lauren Lennon, junior forward Amanda Hunt, junior guard Zoie Bauer and sophomore guard Rachel Ruona.
Hunt averaged 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, and Orlowski averaged 6.5 points and 2.6 assists.
Returning to the program after not playing last season are seniors Angie Mann, Audrey Dickmann and Maddie Huibregste. They are joined by three varsity newcomers, juniors Hannah Zarem, Katie Silasiri and Sarah Coeur.
“We’re really a senior-loaded team. They have a lot of speed and athleticism and get up and down the court,” Reinhardt said. “I think we’ll be able to do a lot of things running the floor.”
Like Maronde, Reinhardt believes in using aggressive, man-to-man defense to force the action and dictate tempo.
“We’re not very big, so we will have to use our quickness and use full and half-court pressure to make things happen,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of firepower, but we will have a good, balanced team that will play hard.”
Not having Gosewehr, the Hawks’ strongest post player, until after the holidays will limit Grafton’s inside game.
“We’re hoping she can come back and give us another presence in January,” Reinhardt said. “That would be a big boost.”
Grafton won’t have a pure point guard this season, according to Reinhardt.
“Our offense won’t work that way. It’s more like point guard by committee,” he said.
The Hawks — who shared the North Shore Conference title last season with Whitefish Bay and Nicolet — will open play Monday, Nov. 26, with a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game at West Bend West. They start their conference schedule Nov. 20 by hosting Cedarburg.
Reinhardt sees a scramble for this season's NSC crown, with Bay, Cedarburg, Nicolet and Germantown all having strong teams.
“I think we can be right in there with them,” he said.
Image Information: VETERAN TALENT buoying the Grafton girls’ basketball team’s hopes for a title-contending season will be provided by (from left) Lauren Lennon, Zoie Bauer, Amanda Hunt, Sam Gosewehr, Haley Orlowski, Sam Smith and Rachel Ruona. Photo by Sam Arendt