Maryville sophomore Serena Sundell averaged 22 points per game at the Bishop LeBlond Holiday Classic Dec. 27-29 in St. Joseph.

Now that the calendar has turned to 2019, the Maryville girls basketball team has weathered the storm of the holiday break and shifted its focus to preparing for the home stretch of the season.

Coach Quentin Albrecht said even though the girls were on a hiatus from school, activities on the court did not take the same recess.

“For us, there isn’t an extended layoff because we were in the LeBlond Holiday Tournament,” Albrecht said. “We actually played three games and played the 27th, 28th and 29th.”

The Spoofhounds cruised to a 61-36 win against Kansas City East to open up winter break. In its second game of the tournament, Maryville beat host-school Bishop LeBlond 50-29 to advance to the championship game versus Mid-Buchanan.

Sophomore stand-out Serena Sundell scored 27 in the 54-49 championship game loss against the Dragons. Sundell was named to the all-tournament team as she averaged 22 points per game in the series.

“They’ve been a little bit of a thorn in our side,” Albrecht said. “We lost to them earlier in the year at Mid-Buchanan by one point ... since I’ve been here we have not beat Mid-Buchanan.”

Albrecht explained a lot of people don’t like the holiday tournament because it interferes with Christmas break and some family activities, but if the team wasn’t playing, they would be in the gym practicing.

For Sundell, the winter break proved to be a break at all. Between games and practices, she said her time off school was spent on the court.

“I can get in the gym,” Sundell said. “Coach Albrecht is always willing. Just shoot him a text or give him a call, and he’ll come in and open up and give us access to the balls.”

With the season well past the midway point, some teams start to trend towards going through the motions. Albrecht keeps things interesting in efforts to keep the girls sharp and on their toes.

“We try to do a few new things at practice to keep things fresh,” Albrecht said. “We shortened our practice times a little bit ... we try to introduce some new drills and things that kind of keep it fresh, and then every once in a while we just try and give them a day off.”

Between new drills and new faces, Albrecht said the help of a new assistant coach has helped liven up the Spoofhounds’ offensive attack more than last year’s.

“I think right now we are a little more effective offensively,” Albrecht said. “I think a big part of that is coach Kelly Obley has taken over offensive coordinator responsibilities and for me, that means I do less, and sometimes less is more.”

Sundell has not seemed to skip a beat in her second season as a Spoofhound. In her freshman season, she broke the school’s single-game scoring record (34 points) and the single-season mark with 526 points. This year, Sundell continues to shine, averaging 24 points per game.

“We have youth this season,” Sundell said. “We lost two starters from last year, but our starters this year have all played together and got some time on varsity last year, and I think that has helped not coming into the season completely new.”

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