Three tips: what Langdon/Edmore/Munich GBB must do to succeed this season

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

LANGDON – A 20-7 record during the 2020-21 campaign was merely the tip of the branch for the Langdon/Edmore/Munich Cardinals. Going higher up the pecking order would have revealed a first-place Region 4 and District 8 finish. To top it all off, the Cardinals finished fifth in the Class B State Basketball Tournament. Although the finish was a touch off of the team’s spotless 27-0 record during the 2019-20 season, it illustrated one key point: the Cardinals have experience on their side. 

This experience will look to take the next step during the upcoming 2021-22 season as the Cardinals return 10 Letter Winners to their starting lineup and bench. The Cardinals will look to lean on this experience and simultaneously vie to improve certain aspects of their game to get back into the title conversation. 

The L/E/M Cardinals pose for a photo after the Class B State Basketball Tournament.

As the team looks to hit the ground running, here are three tips the Cardinals must keep in mind as they look to find their winning touch. 

1. Find more aggression on the offensive end

As you will find out below, the Cardinals had a very, very good defense last year. Offensively, the team had a few more problems. While their 55 points per game average last year was not terrible, it created more pressure on the defense to play a perfect game from start to finish. 

This year, the Cardinals are looking to flip the script - to a degree, anyway. This revolves around translating their aggressive defense to that of a more dynamic offense. 

“We are looking to have our aggressive defense turn into some offense as well,” Langdon/Edmore/Munich head coach Rob Scherr said. “The thing is, the girls work so hard on defense, and they take pride in it, but now, we have to transfer that same energy to the offensive end and play a little more under control and with each other because we are trying to give them a lot more freedom this year to kind of freelance, but freelance within a system. Hopefully, it allows them to be a little more relaxed to pull the trigger, shoot or attack the basket. We definitely have to be able to score more than we did last year.” 

2. Stick with your bread and butter

There is no doubt about it – the Cardinals suffocated teams on the defensive side last season. In 19 of the team’s 27 games last season, the Cardinals held opposing offenses to 50 points or less. In those 19 games, the Cardinals went 17-2. Collectively, the Cardinals allowed teams to score 40 points per game on average. 

Although the Cardinals will look to find more aggression on the offensive end of the court, they cannot let their significant strength falter even slightly. Defenses win championships, and while that might vary depending on the sports debate at hand, it still does not hurt to have a very, very good defense. It is all about fixing a weakness for the Cardinals. However, this does not mean they can let a strength degrade to the point where it no longer holds merit. 

It is as simple as calculus (well, kind of): a good defense leads to a good result in the box score. Keep it that way, Langdon/Edmore/Munich. 

3. Balance it out 

We have already demonstrated that the Cardinals need to score more frequently to make that defense stand out even more. While it is entertaining to have one player carry the bulk of the offensive load and average video game-caliber numbers, it is not entirely practical. 

To Scherr, the name of the game comes in the team, not the individual. Should the Cardinals wish to up the ante in the scoring area, all parties will need to put up a collective performance. 

Although they will have to work around the loss of Cora Badding, the Cardinals will look to lean on the Morgan Freije and Jaya Henderson train. Both lead all returning players in scoring (Freije averaged 11.9 PPG, while Henderson scored 10.4 PPG).

“We had trouble scoring as a team, and this year, we need to have five girls ready to shoot and ready to pick up their scoring, which makes us tougher to defend,” Scherr said. “We cannot allow to have on one girl relied on, and if she does not score, we do not win. Or two. We need all five to be able to put the ball in the hole.”