2012-13 Winter Preview: McGuire takes reins of Woodbury girls basketball team; White looks to shineAfter enjoying 24 years of success under one coach, the Woodbury girls basketball program found itself in the unenviable position of looking for a new coach two years in a row. However, this past fall Woodbury found its man.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, Woodbury Bulletin
After enjoying 24 years of success under one coach, the Woodbury girls basketball program found itself in the unenviable position of looking for a new coach two years in a row.
However, this past fall Woodbury found its man.
Longtime District 833 educator Nathan McGuire begins his first season as Woodbury girls basketball coach this winter. Since 1998 McGuire, a Cottage Grove resident, has taught kindergarten at Armstrong Elementary.
McGuire said he believes he’s found a “home” at Woodbury High School.
McGuire joins Woodbury after serving as the head coach of the Academy of Holy Angels girls basketball team for the past two seasons. Last year, the Stars finished 5-22 overall. He’s also previously been the head girls coach at Henry Sibley and the Minnesota Business Academy. In addition to his basketball experience, McGuire has been a middle school track and field head coach in the district since 2001.
He takes over for Lionel Jones, who resigned from the position this past summer. Jones served as the head coach for just one season, after longtime coach Dave Preller retired following the 2010 school year.
During Preller’s tenure, the Royals won 17 conference championships, 10 section championships and have one state championship – in 2003 – but also placed fourth, third and second in the state tournament as well.
Despite struggling to a 10-18 overall record last year, McGuire said the Royals are returning a lot of key players from last season and that Woodbury is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2011-12 season with the ability to contend for the Suburban East Conference and Section 4AAAA titles.
This winter, despite losing Kayla Hinton and Ashley Sha to graduation, the cupboard is far from bare for McGuire.
Leading the way will be senior Kristina White, an All-State guard and multiple-record holder for Woodbury, has committed to play Division 1 basketball for the Vermont Catamounts next year. As a junior, the 5-foot 8-inch White led Woodbury in scoring last season with a 19.6 points per game average. She also had a team-high 5.1 assists per game and 4.7 steals per game – which was a school record. She reached the 1,000 career point mark early in the 2011-12 season and currently is Woodbury’s seventh leading scorer all-time with 1,112 career points.
White will co-captain the Royals this season along with fellow senior Marisa Olsen – a stellar ball-handler who averaged 4.4 points per game last year. Also back to the fold is senior post player Mikaela Hunter, who was second in scoring for Woodbury a year ago at 7.3 points per game. Other key players back this year include seniors Courtney Schiffler and Liz Sampson.
In the Suburban East Conference, defending conference champ Roseville will be the team to beat. The Raiders start the year ranked third in the state and returned most of their players. In addition, Park brought most of its core back including a pair of Division 1 prospects, while White Bear lost star guard Alexis Foley, but should still be tough as well. Looking to the postseason, the Bears are the defending Section 4AAAA champs, but St. Paul Central is expected to be the team to beat in section play. The Royals host the Minutemen on Friday, Nov. 30 at Woodbury High School.