2019-20: 1-24 overall, 1-21 Big 9 (12th).

FINAL GAME: 74-31 loss at Austin in the Section 1AAA quarterfinals.

Even with summer activities reduced to a margin of what they normally might entail, Faribault girls basketball coach Patrick Garcia thinks he actually saw more of his team this summer than last.

In 2019, Garcia was hired as the team's head coach last summer, and said the timeline of him starting as the coach limited his availability for summer workouts.

"My first summer with them I didn't have a full summer," Garcia said. "Heading into this season, even with COVID, I still got to see them during the summer. Even now before the season starts we've been doing virtual practices and just starting to build our team culture and getting connected with our players. That's very important to build that team chemistry and that team bond before we start actually going full go in practices with drills and getting ready for games."

That season is slated to start with the first in-person practice Jan. 4 and the first game of the regular season Jan. 14, when Faribault hosts defending Big 9 Conference champion Red Wing.

Entering this season, the Falcons return a good amount of experience with a pair of senior starting guards in Ellie Hunt and Kylie Petricka. Those two will be joined in the backcourt by junior Olivia Bauer, last year's starting point guard who averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game last season.

"I'm interested to watch her continued growth," Garcia said. "She's just a fierce competitor, and everyone can see that every time she steps onto the court. If you see her play volleyball, you can definitely see her passion and everybody loves to watch that."

Additionally, guard Evy Vettrus returns for her junior season after emerging last season as a dangerous threat from behind the 3-point line. Last year, Vettrus led Faribault with 11.5 points per game.

"Now she's getting that extra year of varsity experience heading into this season and is trying to make that improvement," Garcia said.

Garcia said he also expects to make an improvement himself after his first year leading a varsity program last winter.

"Being a second-year head coach, taking that first year and learning from it, and then everything that's happening with COVID, it'll be super exciting just to be back in the gym with our players," Garcia said.

Other key varsity returners include sophomore Isabel Herda, junior Meghan Swanson and junior Maryn Hart.

Reach Sports Editor Michael Hughes at 645-1106 or follow him on Twitter @APGSoMnHughes. © Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved. 

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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