Western Dubuque’s Emma Gile scores inside.

Playing in the mostly Class 5A Mississippi Valley Conference is a solid preparation for postseason play. Western Dubuque’s girls’ basketball team, after winning two of four to end the regular season, carried its late-season momentum into a Class 4A, Region 4 quarterfinal matchup with Clinton, and advanced with a 64-46 win, before dropping a semifinal contest to state qualifier Center Point-Urbana to finish 7-16 on the year.

“Overall, I am proud of how hard our girls competed all season long. Playing in the MVC against ranked 4A and 5A schools makes programs grow both on the individual and team level,” said coach Amy Ostwinkle.

After opening the season with wins over WaMaC Conference teams West Delaware and Mount Vernon, the Bobcats dropped four in a row before picking up their first MVC win of the season over Iowa City Liberty, Dec. 17.

The Bobcats then dropped 9-of-10 before picking up late-season wins at Waterloo East and Linn-Mar.

“Throughout the season we were able to play even with most of the teams we faced,” said Ostwinkle. “One game, in particular, was our buzzer-beater win against Linn-Mar.”

Western Dubuque’s balanced offense was led by junior point guard Jenna Fiedler, senior post Emma Gile and sophomore swing player Madison Maahs.

Fiedler led the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game, dished out 65 assists and knocked home a team-leading 45 three-pointers. Gile was a steady presence inside and scored 9.2 points per contest along with 8.1 rebounds. Maahs averaged 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds, and was second on the team with 24 three-pointers.

Senior Ashley Costello had a strong season, averaging 4.5 points and 4.8 rebounds, and junior post Abigail Kluesner averaged 2.2 points and 5.0 rebounds. Senior Sierra Hill battled injury, averaging 3.4 points in 11 games.

Senior Maddie Goodman appeared in 20 games, sophomore Maddie Harris scored 32 points in 23 games, and sophomore Leah Digmann appeared in 17 games.

“I cannot thank our seniors — Emma Gile, Ashley Costello, Sierra Hill, Maddie Goodman and Teresa Petsche — enough for their time and commitment to our program,” Ostwinkle said. “Each of them made an impact on our team. Emma and Ashley were team captains who many of our younger players went to for guidance. Sierra was a starter for us until an injury sidelined her in January. Maddie came back out for basketball this year and earned a starting spot in the second half of the season. Teresa is a five-sport athlete and contributed positively to the team.”

With a solid returning cast, don’t be surprised to see a big turnaround for the Bobcats next season.

“We are excited for the future,” said Ostwinkle. “We have a core group returning next year that saw significant varsity playing time this year, including Jenna Fiedler, Abigail Kluesner, Maddy Maahs, Maddie Harris and Leah Digmann. We are excited to see how much time our underclassmen will put in this offseason, including our incoming freshmen.”