FELCH - North Dickinson's varsity girls basketball team, opening the season tonight at Kingsford, returns all five starters from last year - but only four are ready to take the floor.
The Nordics, 5-16 (4-8 Skyline) in 2012-13, bring back guards Gina Rotter, and Lexi Steele, center Elizabeth Charlevoix, who was second team all-conference, and forwards Chelsey Stroud and Miranda Jacobson.
Jacobson, a first team all-conference and second team All-U.P. selection last season, is not ready to return from her ankle injury suffered during volleyball season.
Coach Mike Roell said her return date is questionable at this time.
"We are going to have to have everyone step up their game to help make up for the loss of Jacobson, last year's team MVP" he said. "We need to take care of the ball better, make better decisions and rebound to have any chance of winning."
Roell believes the experience on his roster should help the team handle pressure better than in the past.
"These girls are more experienced and it shows in practice," he said. "Now we need to take it to the game. I like the way this group is working. They have showed much improvement over the last couple weeks in practice, and I am excited to get started."
In addition to the starting five, ND returns seniors Deborah Starnes, Hannah Miller and Abby Steinbrecher. Newcomers are Oyundari Uurdsaikhan, Maria Roell and Samantha Tolonen.
North Dickinson's first home game comes Friday against Stephenson.
Roell expects Lexi Gussert's Forest Park Trojans to dominate the Skyline conference.
"They're a real solid team," he said. "Bark River is always good and the conference in general will be tough."
Anna Christian coaches the JVs.
SENIOR - Deborah Starnes, Gina Rotter, Hannah Miller, Abigail Steinbrecher. JUNIOR - Lexi Steele, Oyundari Uurdsaikhan, Miranda Jacobson, Chelsey Stroud, Maria Roell, Samantha Tolonen. SOPH. - Elizabeth Charlevoix.