Over the last 16 years, the Nashville Hornettes basketball team has been consistently successful. The last season in which the Hornettes did not win at least a share of conference was the 1999-2000 season, in which Sparta took home the title. The Hornettes have won at least a regional in 16 of the past 17 seasons. The Hornettes return key contributors from last year's team, who lost in the Regional Championship to Mater Dei.
The Hornettes return four of their five starters from last year's conference championship team. The Hornettes went 10-0 in conference last season. The Hornettes return Karly Stanowski, Paige Kasten, Rachael Kell, and Janie Holle to the starting lineup. Head coach Doug Althoff points to experience as the strength of the team this season. "I would think one of the biggest ones, should be experience. We got most of our starters back, and I've noticed so far in practice, its a little bit easier. They know whats going on a little bit more, it doesn't take as much time to put stuff in. So I think, that is probably our number one asset."
Althoff pointed to speed as the team's main weakeness heading into the season. "We're not very fast, we do have some speed, but overall team speed, I would say we are average. That's one of those things, you can't teach speed, you either have it or you don't."
The Hornettes play a tough schedule, which opens up in the Nashville Girls Basketball Thanksgiving Tournament, which tips off on November 21. Althoff talked about the tough matchups. "You really don't know what everyone has yet. We've got Freeburg, Mascoutah and Collinsville in our pool, and I don't see any of those being easy nights. We're going to be challenged every night, you hope to win them all and we are going to go out there and do the best we can, and try to be competitive."
Although the Hornettes have won at least a share of conference every season this millenium, and went 10-0 last season, Althoff is not taking the conference lightly. "Carterville is always going to be good. They did lose a lot, but their JV was very good last year, I don't know if they lost a game. They are going to be very quick, a little down on size, but you can make up for a lot of that with their quickness. Pinckneyville is always Pinckneyville, we always struggle with them. I think a sleeper in the conference will be Anna-Jonesboro. I think they got everybody back. In my opinion, they probably have if not the best, one of the top two players in the conference in Bassler. I really think there is a lot of parity in the conference. DuQuoin is always a challenge for us. If you go in there and take anybody lightly, you're liable to get beat, and hopefully they do seem to get up for the conference games, and hopefully we come out on top."
Senior Night will be held on January 31 against Pinckneyville. The Hornettes will finish the regular season on the road against DuQuoin.