The Burnsville girls program is hoping to continue its upward trend.

Last season, the Blaze snapped a streak of nine straight losing seasons, finishing with a 17-10 overall mark (11-7 in the South Suburban Conference).

Burnsville went 1-1 in the Section 3AAAA playoffs, falling to Lakeville North in the semifinals. It was the program’s first section semifinal playoff appearance since 2012.

There’s talent back this winter in senior captains Morgan Krumwiede, Hannah Lake and Brooke Haddorff, along with senior Mara McMahon and junior Savannah Islam. Seniors Jayda LeGrand and Joslyn Reuter are also expected to contribute.

Krumwiede was second on the team in scoring last winter at 12.8 points per game. Lake averaged 5.0 points.

“Our hope is to stay healthy in order for us to have a successful season,” Blaze coach Maurice Hodges said. “Our goal going in is to play well at the start and continue to get better as the season progresses. We need to stay consistent on both ends of the floor and compete in our conference.

“Teams playing well down the stretch are those that do well in section play,” Hodges added. “Our goal is to be a team that’s highly competitive in the SSC.”

The experience Burnsville has helped the team better navigate the COVID-19 restrictions. The returning players know the system and the expectations, so Hodges didn’t have to break much new ground in the team’s first in-person practice Jan. 4.

Gov. Tim Walz shut down youth and high school sports for four weeks back on Nov. 18 and extended it two more weeks through the holiday break.

So the month of December for the Blaze was spent in Zoom meetings online like the rest of the teams in the state. But Hodges said those meetings were productive.

“We stayed in touch during December by having virtual team meetings to discuss our philosophy going in and setting expectations,” he said. “We also had virtual workouts with a strength and conditioning coach. It was great to be able to stay connected with the players.”

Burnsville’s reduced schedule will consist of 18 conference games through mid-March, and then the playoffs will start.

The Minnesota State High School League will decide Feb. 4 at its next Board of Directors meeting if there will be any winter state tournaments. There were no state competitions for fall sports.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.