By Jacki Wood

With the loss of four strong seniors from last year’s 16-9 Northeast Nodaway girls basketball team, the Bluejays are approaching this season much differently.

“We will need to approach this season in a whole new way,” Joyce Stiens said, now in her second year as head coach.

The four graduates were Dallis Coffelt, Jill Spire, Allie Runde and Talina Nelson.

“Dallis was our leading scorer and rebounder for the team and Jill was our floor leader and point guard,” Stiens said. “Talina and Allie were great defensive players and added stability to our offense.”

Stiens will rely on junior Taylor Coffelt and sophomores Gerry Runde and MaKayla Adwell to step up this year.

“We will not have the inside scoring that we had last year and will look to these three players for our scoring,” she said. “Our focus will be on defense and improving as a team each game.”

With the alignment of the new 275 Conference, Stiens said the Bluejays will have a tough schedule that includes Jefferson, South Nodaway, Mound City and DeKalb.

“Our main challenge will be staying out of foul trouble and keeping the team healthy,” she said. “We want to continually grow as a team and to be competitive each game we play.”

The Bluejays began the season with a home opener win over Albany and then placed fourth at the Platte Valley Invitational.