MENOMINEE — Experience will play a big factor in the Menominee girls basketball team’s success this year, with all but one of its players returning to start this season.

Seniors Emma Hofer, Sarah Barrette, Kendell Klatt and Arikah Bellisle return along with sophomores Erin Barrette, Mackenzie Wellner and Emma Anderson. 

“We have a lot of experience coming back with Emma (Hofer), Sarah and Arikah,” Menominee coach Lucas Chouinard said. “They’ve been with me for three years now so they definitely know what it takes. Them, along with Kendell, are exceptional leaders, and if you want to be a successful program you need great seniors and I think we have a good group this year.”

Anderson, a 6-foot-1 forward who averaged 13.4 points and seven rebounds per game, was named to the All-Great Northern Conference first team and Erin Barrette (9.4 points) notched a spot on the all-defensive team with her 3.25 steals per night and All-GNC second team as freshman.

“Emma and Erin were our top two scorers last year, so we expect a lot from them this year,” Chouinard said. “They know how to play and they know the intensity that’s needed to be successful at this level.”

In addition, Sarah Barrette and Hofer (6.3 points) were named All-GNC honorable mention.

Josie Hofer and Jenna Nolde are sophomore guards that were brought up to play varsity this season. The two will add even more speed and quickness to a team that has plenty to spare.

“We’re not very big, we have Emma who’s 6-1 and we’re blessed to have her but not much other height,” Chouinard said. “What we do have is great team speed so we’re going to try and utilize that on offense and defense as well. We want to play more man-to-man and it should be a fun year for us.”

Junior forwards Kylie Wickstrom, Jaida Lesperance and Lauren Caley-Nelson round out the roster for Menominee, and Chouinard thinks he has the players available to spread out the game-time minutes to all 12 players.

“I really don’t have a set rotation for the season,” he said. “Everything has been competitive in practice. There could be different starters at any time. We’ll just go off what the other team gives us, whoever is playing well at the time and whoever gives us the best chance to win. I told them when we first started all 12 of them are going to play and I think they’re doing a good job of getting each other ready.”

Menominee won its first district playoff game in years last season before falling to Sault Ste. Marie in the district title game. That loss is still in the minds of the Maroon players and coaches; they look to get back in the same position this season.

“We won a district game for the first time in years last year and then we got beat pretty bad up in the Soo,” Chouinard said. “Eleven of the girls on this team were on that team, so they know what that feels like, to get beaten up in somebody else’s gym. They’re hungry to take that next step this year.

“Obviously the goal is to win the conference so we’re looking forward to a good year. The conference is going to be tough but as long as we’re starting to play our best basketball once conference season starts in January, I like our chances.”

Menominee’s first game is on Tuesday when the Maroons travel to Westwood.