Arrowhead Warhawks girls’ basketball leans on team values as they aim for success. After a 21 win season and a sectional final defeat a season ago, the Warhawks look to build off those values with another successful season as they currently sit at 6-0 after a 44-40 win over Waukesha West at home on Friday night.
“We have expectations for our process or how we go about this season,” Arrowhead head coach Rick Witte said. “Working hard, working together, selfless leadership, gratitude and love to name a few. These are some of our values and we expect coaches and players to live up to them. Our player leadership is off the charts with this group, and fun to be around really.”
Alaina Harper leads a senior class of seven players as she was the team’s second leading scorer a season ago. The Grand Canyon University commit averaged 14 points per game last season and is on the same pace so far this year.
“Alaina is the best post player in the state and has dominated the paint for us and has shown a willingness to step outside and knock down big shots,” Witte said of his senior forward.
Harper is among four returning starters this season including Bella Samz, Greta Hanson and Sarah Larson. Samz averaged 9.6 points per game last season, and has averaged 16 points per game this season, while Larson is averaging 11 for the Warhawks.
Witte says that Harper and Samz really work together on the floor, while he regards Larson and Hanson as two of the best on-ball defenders he has ever coached.
“She (Larson) is one of the best on-ball defenders I’ve ever worked with and she is smooth on the offensive side of the floor both shooting and handling the ball,” Witte said. “Greta is a steady-hand for us on both sides. Her leadership is outstanding and she IS the best on-ball defender I have coached.”
The team’s energy has added to the Warhawks’ success with a group that Witte calls his “First Responders,” which consists of role players as well as managers. This group consists of seniors Devyn Meister, Caitlin Robel, Kaitlyn Courtney, and Anna Jenson as well as managers Jenna Zeller and Jane Berglin.
If you follow the team on Twitter, Courtney is always the one holding the microphone in post-game locker room celebrations. Berglin and Zeller have made their impacts on the sideline as well as in the locker room.
“This matters and has been a gigantic part of our 6-0 start,” Witte said.
Last season, Arrowhead finished 21-6 overall and shared the conference title with Kettle Moraine with a 13-3 record in the Classic Eight conference. Arrowhead plays Kettle Moraine at home on Tuesday and Waukesha West on the road before the Christmas holiday before playing in a tournament in Middleton over the holiday break.
“These Warhawks have taken matters into their own hands defensively and offensively and have simply found different ways to win,” Witte said of the season so far. “The girls are on the floor experiencing the game in a way that we, as coaches, cannot. Their ability to learn from their mistakes, share that learning with each other and get better has been impressive so early in the season.”