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Marauders excited for summer
Written by Brian Bergner   
Monday, 13 June 2011 00:00

The Mingus Union High School girls basketball team began its summer schedule Monday, June 6, with two losses to cross-valley rivals in Camp Verde.

On the first of four Monday night leagues in June, the Marauders brought only eight players but played tough against Camp Verde and Sedona Red Rock high schools.

Micah Swenson, who will be entering his third year as head coach of the Marauders come the first day of practice for the 2011-2012 season Monday, Oct. 31, believes his kids played well this week.

Desi Ortiz, right, goes up for a layup during practice Friday,  June 3, with the Mingus Union High School girls summer basketball team. Ortiz and the rest of the Marauders are looking to get better this June during the summer season.“We brought a few young kids, and we only had eight, but we’re trying some new things, and the girls are responding well. They improved greatly between games one and two,” Swenson said in a telephone interview Tuesday, June 7.

Most of the 2010-2011 team, which went 6-15 overall, returns this summer looking to make up for the last couple of seasons. Mingus has missed the 4A-II conference state playoffs in each of the last two years after making the state semifinals in 2008-2009.

Under Will Rider, the Marauders made the state playoffs three years in a row, culminating with the group that rode Cinderella’s slipper all the way to the final four in 2008-2009 before losing to No. 1 Page High School, 66-33.

Since then, the Marauders haven’t sniffed a playoff berth but Swenson is eager to change that. Come November, Mingus will begin a new journey as the Arizona Interscholastic Association placed the Marauders in Division II [Section II] for 2011-2012. All conferences and regions ceased to exist in May.

Returning players this summer include juniors Skyler Storie, Seairah Ebert and Torey Gillies while seniors Taylor Jochim, Joni Olson, Lindsey Koeppe and Desi Ortiz are back as well.

The Marauders have a few young players in the gymnasium as well this summer, including sophomores Angel Chavez and Danielle Valenzuela.

Freshman standout guard Angelina Ravo is new to the squad but Swenson said she is already one of the most talented players in the program.

Mingus lost only two players to graduation this year, Kayla Storie, who signed a letter of intent to play outfield for Glendale Community College next spring, and Shaylene Martinez.

Swenson and his Marauders will look to make the state playoffs this coming season, but he believes a lot depends on how quickly the players learn things this summer.

Mingus is scheduled to participate in the Badger Invitational Tournament at Prescott High School on Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11.

Mingus is scheduled to see Prescott along with Bradshaw Mountain and Kingman high schools. Mingus will play Sedona and Camp Verde as well.

The Marauders will play at Coconino High School on Monday, June 13, travel to Sedona on Monday, June 20, and wrap up summer league play Monday, June 27, at home in Cottonwood.


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