COACH: Gary Perko (5th season)
LAST YEAR: The Wizards finished 19-5 overall, 12-2 in the Class 4A Tri-Valley Conference, good enough for second place behind Roosevelt. After defeating Pueblo Central 45-33 in the 4A round of 32 of the state playoffs, the Wizards lost 51-46 to Sand Creek in the Sweet 16.
KEY PLAYERS: Korbyn Ukasick, sr., 6-0, forward (10 points, 4 rebounds); Alysa Manicone, so. 5-4, point guard (6 points, 4 assists); Brooke Pemberton, 6-1, so., center (8 points, 10 rebounds); Maggie Griggs, sr., 5-8, forward; Amanda Young, sr., 5-4, guard.
DID YOU KNOW? Perko’s basketball teams have not missed the state playoffs in his first four years as head coach. Windsor’s only two league losses last year were to Roosevelt.
PERKO’S COMMENTS: “The experience over the summer and last year’s experience of going to the Sweet 16 will hopefully help out this year. Our expectations are to at least compete for the conference title this year, and at least get back to the Sweet 16, if not further. We expect (Ukasick) to be a leader for the team and pick up the scoring slack. Pemberton just bangs inside. She’s got some good post moves inside and works hard. When you can average 10 rebounds a game as a freshman, she has a nose for the ball. She knows where it’s coming off, and she goes and gets it and puts it back in. That’s a lot of her points right there. We got a transfer in from Nebraska (Samantha Huss, 5-10, sr., forward), and she’s going to probably play inside a little bit more so Korbyn can go outside. We’re hoping that (Manicone) can run the ball club for us, and hopefully play good defense on the opposing guard. We’ve got just a good bunch of girls returning from last year. We’ve got a good, strong C-team program. I bet it’s the best C-team program we’ve had in a long time. There’s 10 girls down there that can play, and we just don’t have a spot for them right now or they might be competing for a JV or varsity spot. We had over 40-something girls try out, and we kept 35. The program has just blossomed over the last few years. It’s just solid all the way through the program right now.”
SEASON OUTLOOK: Berthoud and Mead are being added to the conference this season. Perko said it’s a competitive conference all the way through. Perko said this squad won’t be afraid to run, but defense will be a top priority even with the loss of defensive coach Jim Porth, who took over the job as head girls basketball coach at Resurrection Christian in Loveland and has been replaced by former University boys basketball coach Burr Adams. Adams used to coach with Perko in Windsor. Perko has built a top-10 program in the state in four short years. Look for the Wizards to break down the Sweet Sixteen door and make it to the Elite Eight at the 4A state tournament.
FIRST GAME: The Wizards played in the McDonald’s Classic in Cheyenne, Wyo., this past Thursday through Saturday.
— T.M. Fasano