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story.lead_photo.caption Mikah Edwards of Helias steals a pass during a game last season against Boonville at Rackers Fieldhouse. Photo by News Tribune / News Tribune.

The majority of the points last season for the Helias Lady Crusaders came from Lindsey Byers and Kylie Bernskoetter.

With those two on to playing college basketball, there are holes to fill in the Helias offense this season.

"I don't care who scores, I just want the ball to go through the basket," Helias coach Garrett Wiggans said as the Lady Crusaders prepared for tonight's season-opener against the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons at Rackers Fieldhouse.

"We lose a lot of points, but kids love to step up and fill those roles. We have players that can do that. It will be fun to watch players step in and blossom in those spots."

The Lady Crusaders return three starters in juniors Mikah Edwards and Brooke Reutter, along with sophomore Adalyn Koelling.

"We're going to count on them again this season," Wiggans said.

Edwards, a 5-foot-6 guard, provided a spark on the floor for the Lady Crusaders last season. She has worked hard to improve her offensive game in the offseason.

"She's a player that always wants to shoot in the mornings, she's really improved out there," Wiggans said. "She's a leader, we're going to have two years of her as a leader on the court."

Reutter, a 5-8 guard, is a spot-up shooter for the Lady Crusaders who has taken up boxing.

"She's gotten tougher," Wiggans said.

Koelling, a 6-1 forward, can be productive inside or outside on the offensive end.

"She can be a threat behind the 3-point line as well as taking people off the dribble," Wiggans said. "We want her to be able to score from anywhere."

Koelling, who has already received NCAA Division-I offers, will be a back to the basket player at times.

"With our offense, she's going to move around a lot," Wiggans said. "She's not going to stand in one spot waiting on the ball. It will depend on how people are defending her."

Jacie Buschjost, a 5-10 senior, will also start at forward. She is a co-captain, along with Edwards.

"She's the type of player that will take a charge in practice, you don't see that a lot," Wiggans said. "She does little things like that to help us get better and win games."

Claire Manns, a 5-8 sophomore, will round out the starting lineup as a guard.

"She's athletic and when she buckles down on the defensive end, she can get some quick points on the other end of the floor for us," Wiggans said.

Sammi Ehmke and Gabrielle Bax, both seniors, and sophomore Ava Morris are among the reserves.

Ehmke, a 5-7 guard, is a defensive specialist.

"She's a tenacious defender," Wiggans said

Morris, a 5-10 guard, can do a little bit of everything.

"She can shoot, she can drive, she can rebound," Wiggans said. "She's a great athlete."

Bax, a 5-6 guard, is healthy for basketball for the first time since her freshman year.

"To get her out, I'm glad she decided to play and I know the girls are all excited for her," Wiggans said. "She will be an X-factor for us, she has the ability to a difference maker in any ballgame."

The remainder of the varsity roster will be comprised of freshmen, Wiggans said. The Lady Crusaders have 11 freshmen out for basketball.

The Lady Crusaders finished 16-6 last season in Wiggans' first year as head coach.

"I'm a little more comfortable this year," he said. "We're getting better and better every day and that's what you want as a coach."

Helias will play in three tournaments before the start of 2022 — the Sullivan Invitational, the Lady Comet Classic at Fatima and the Jefferson Bank Holiday Classic.

The Lady Comet Classic, scheduled for Nov. 29-Dec. 4, is new to the schedule.

"They asked if we wanted to be in and it's close to home and we'll get some good games," Wiggans said.

Helias won't have homecourt advantage in the Holiday Classic this year as the Dec. 27-29 event has moved to Capital City High School.

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