Beckman’s 2021-22 varsity girls’ basketball team: front from left, Mia Maiers, Shea Steffen, Trista Schmidt, Lil McDermott and Hope Naber; back row, Shelby Pirc, Jenna Lansing, Isabell Kruse, Lauren Osterhaus, Kaylee Lehmann and Reese Osterhaus.

With “the core of the team that was one win away from state last year” returning, 11th-year head coach Chad Thomason has high hopes for his Blazer girls.

With that being said, Thomason also added, “We are missing two seniors who were crucial to that run, but the younger girls are poised to step up.”

Thomason will floor a junior-heavy team this season, with returning seniors Lauren Osterhaus (first-team WaMaC) and Isabell Kruse the lone members of the Class of ‘22. Juniors include Lil McDermott (second-team WaMaC), Jenna Lansing (honorable mention), Shelby Pirc, Mia Maiers, Shea Steffen, Trista Schmidt and sophomore Reese Osterhaus. He lists key newcomers in sophomores Kaylee Lehmann and Hope Naber.

When queried about team strengths and weaknesses, the coach said, “We are deep at the guard position but thin in the post. There are nine players returning from a year ago, mostly juniors. Our record in the WaMaC isn’t always the greatest but the league prepares us for the postseason.”

Thomason added that he feels his team will be strong enough to claim a possible third place in that tough WaMaC lineup, following Solon and Marion. He added West Delaware and Maquoketa to the top-five list.