There was some speculation that Blue Earth Area girls basketball coach Al Cue would not take the position again this year, due to his change in jobs from teacher to administrator.
But, Cue says he enjoys coaching the team too much to give it up.
"I am able to coach a great group of girls each year," he says. "And this year is no different. They are a joy to coach. I enjoy doing it."
The 2012-2013 Buccaneer girls basketball team. Front row, left to right; Signe Olson, Jenne Stevermer, Whitney Pirsig, Karli Olsen, Analicia Swanson, Karlie Abel and Anne Franta. Back row, left to right; Mariah Twedt, Paige Darrington, Taylor Grandgenett, Kaitlyn Olsen, Ciarra Olson, Janessa Jahnke, Krista Hassing, Shayna Stevermer and Anikka Wilhelmi. Not pictured, Chelsea Owen.
Cue had 27 girls out for this year's edition of the Buccaneer squad, but one has already transferred to another school.
That leaves 26, with three of them being exchange students.
The team has four seniors, with one exchange student among the mix.
"Our three returning seniors from last year are going to form our core," Cue says. "Those are Krista Hassing, Whitney Pirsig and Janessa Jahnke."
Hassing started every game last season and was All-Conference.
"Krista is just an outstanding athlete," Cue says. "She is one of the best athletes ever in our program at Blue Earth Area."
Pirsig started many games last year and Cue says she had lots and lots of varsity playing time.
"Janessa also had some varsity experience last year and looks to be a central player for us this year," Cue says.
The team has six juniors with two of them exchange students.
Cue expects Ciarra Olson, Chelsea Owen and Jenna Stevermer to step up to help the team. They had some playing time last season and are ready to play more this year, the coach says.
There are also five sophomores and 11 freshman to fill out the team.
"I think sophomore Kaitlyn Olsen will help us a lot," Cue says. "She is probably a potential starter. Of the freshmen, Taylor Grandgenett is going to play some varsity, too."
But, the coach quickly adds, it is too early to say who, exactly, is going to get the playing time.
"We had eight seniors graduate off of last year's team," Cue says. "Meaning we have a lot of holes to fill."
The Buc mentor says that he has a great bunch of girls out for the team this year, but he will have to find out who is able to step up their game.
That decision will need to be made soon. The Bucs first game is against Granada-Huntley-East Chain, at home, on Monday, Nov. 26.
As far as the area competition goes, Coach Cue says that there is one team that will be the top in the area.
"Hands down New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva will be the top in the Section," Cue explains. "They have almost all of their third place in State team back."
In the South Central Conference, Cue says Waseca and Fairmont will be tough this season, and St. Peter might be in the mix as well.
Coach Cue has a few new faces on his assistant coaching list.
Last year's B-squad coach, Jodee Lund, took time off for maternity leave, so Nate Lund moved up from C-squad to B.
Devon Drager is now the C-squad coach, with Todd Schmidtke and Travis Armstrong at the helms of the middle school teams.
"We have some great seniors to lead us, and a really great bunch of girls again this season," Cue says. "I know we will have a good year."