Richfield’s girls basketball team experienced a remarkable and record-setting season in 2011-12.
The Spartans won the Classic Suburban Conference title with a 13-1 record before claiming the section championship.
That section title advanced Richfield to its first state girls basketball tournament appearance in school history. The Spartans made the most of that opportunity by placing second in Class 3A tourney after losing 65-45 to DeLaSalle in the title game.
Richfield finished its season with a school-record 27 victories and only five losses.
The Spartans have several key returnees back from last year’s state runner-up team and hope to return to the Class 3A tournament this season under a new head coach.
Scott Stadem, a Spartan assistant last season, has taken over the head coaching position from LeeAnn Wise, who resigned after last season for personal reasons.
Stadem’s made a successful head coaching debut Nov. 28 as the Spartans opened their season with a 72-53 home victory over Staples-Motley.
Returning 5-7 senior point guard Jessica January netted 21 points in the win and contributed eight assists. She was an all-conference and all-state selection last season averaging nearly 25 points per game.
January recently signed a national letter of intent to play college basketball at DePaul University next season.
“We did a nice job defensively holding Staple to only 28 field goal attempts while we attempted 53 shots,” said Stadem. “The girls are starting to get used to our new defensive and offensive systems.”
January is one of three Richfield starters off last season’s state tournament squad. Also back are 5-6 senior guard Sierra Ford-Washington and 5-5 senior guard Hailey Lindlblom.
Ford-Washington and Lindblom scored nine and seven points respectively against Staples-Motley. Ford-Washington also pulled down seven rebounds.
“Both seniors played good defense and pressured the ball well,” said coach Stadem. “We made it hard for Staples to get off good shots.”
Kailey Adams, a 5-10 sophomore forward, came through with 17 points in the triumph. Her sister Kyla Adams, a 5-10 sophomore forward, netted nine points.
Mackinsey Schramm, a 5-7 senior forward, finished with six points and 5-4 junior guard Dominique Hammonds added three points.
Leah Barnes, a 6-1 sophomore center, didn’t score but drew praise from her coach.
“Leah did a nice job defensively inside against a quality team,” said Stadem. “Our players were a little nervous in our first game.
“But it was a good test playing against a strong Staples-Motley team.”
Richfield’s aggressive defense resulted in 11 steals and 15 deflections.
Richfield’s captains are Lindblom, January, Ford-Washington and Hammonds.
Richfield will travel to St. Paul Central for a 7 p.m. game Tuesday, Dec. 11. The Spartans remain on the road to face Shakopee at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14.