Warden girls basketball looking for another strong year

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald Above: Warden head coach Josh Madsen talks with his players before practice on Wednesday Nov. 20. File photo Below: Warden guard Jaryn Madsen dribbles toward the basket last season.

WARDEN — Warden girls basketball gears up for another season after finishing 20-3 in 2018-19. The Cougars are ranked sixth in the Scorebook Live preseason poll for Class 1A.

After falling short of their goals last season, Warden head coach Josh Madsen said he doesn’t want to worry too much about the future just yet, but has high hopes for his group coming in.

“It really comes down to playing your best basketball at the most important times, so we’re definitely tweaking some things and changing how we do things and we want to make sure we’re peaking at the right time this year,” Madsen said.

Early on, Madsen said he’s looking to focus more on having his team locked in on the defensive side and believes this group has plenty of athleticism to do so.

“We’re gonna focus more on the defensive end this year and really try to be able to lock teams down and make them a little uncomfortable,” Madsen said.

The Warden coach said he isn’t as worried about his girls on the offensive end, returning three players who averaged double digits last season in addition to some fresh faces who can impact the court right away.

“For us it’s gonna be, especially in the bigger games, can we get the stops we need to get,” Madsen said. “And I think the offense, for the most part, will be able to take care of itself. We’ve got a lot of options.”

Brecka Erdmann joins the Cougars this season as the lone senior after playing her first three years with Moses Lake. Erdmann brings experience to the group and Madsen said she has brought a lot of much-needed leadership as well early on.

Stepping into a leadership role in her first season with the Cougars is something the Warden head coach said couldn’t be done by everybody.

“She’s got the personality that she seems to take it in stride,” Madsen said. “She’s got a bubbly personality and she’s very outgoing and that makes it a lot easier.”

Madsen said, for people that have seen her around or at school, they would never guess that she was new to the group.

After a strong season last year, the Cougars’ postseason was cut short with a tough loss in the district playoffs. Madsen said he knows a lot of girls took the loss hard and said it’s still very fresh in his mind. Talking with his players and fellow coaches, Madsen wants the experience to become a positive one the team and program can build from.

“We’re using it, hopefully, as a painful lesson and a building block that can lead to a really bright future,” Madsen said.

Going into the first games of the season, Madsen said he really wants to try and not have his players over-thinking things, and is working to get them physically prepared to play the style they want to play.

“Once that first game comes around they’re gonna hopefully be so sick of practice that I’ll just be able to sort of unleash them and sit back and watch,” Madsen said.

The Cougars will go on the road to open the season with a matchup against Granger on Friday, Dec. 6.

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