The Prior Lake girls basketball team had a successful first season under first-year coach Demondi Johnson.
The Lakers finished 12-5 in the tough South Suburban Conference, but the team fell short of getting a playoff win.
Prior Lake earned the No. 5 seed in the Section 2AAAA playoffs and fell 46-41 at fourth-seeded Shakopee March 16 in the quarterfinals.
The Lakers (12-6 overall) ended the regular season at Shakopee March 11 with a 50-38 loss in SSC play. Prior Lake won its home game over the Sabers, 60-55 back on Feb. 4.
Johnson took over a Prior Lake program that finished 11-16 overall last season (8-10 in SSC). He had some veteran players back, including three of team’s top-four scorers in senior guards Kate Trachsel and Tatum Brostrom and senior center Emily Kulstad.
Overall, the Lakers had nine seniors on the roster, including Chanel Kallevig, Emily Johnson, Kate VanHelden, Ellie Albrecht and Abby Kuboushek.
So Johnson will have to do some rebuilding next year, but Johnson was able to build some depth this winter. Seven players averaged five or more points per game for Prior Lake, and nobody averaged in double figures.
In the playoff loss to Shakopee, Brostrom led the Lakers with 11 points, while Kuboushek scored eight and Kallevig finished with seven.
Sophomore Lauren Pawlyshyn, VanHelden and Kulstad each had four points.
The game was close throughout, including the Sabers leading 21-19 at the break. Kate Cordes hit three 3-pointers in the second half to help Shakopee grab the lead and hold on to it down the stretch.
Trachsel led the Lakers in scoring this season at 8.8 points per game, followed by Brostrom (8.0), Kulstad (7.6), Pawlyshyn (7.5), Kallevig (6.1), Johnson (5.8) and VanHelden (5.3).
The Lakers were 9-3 at one point, including a 43-38 win over No. 10-ranked Rosemount. The Irish are the No. 1 seed in Section 3AAAA.
Prior Lake finished third in the SSC behind Rosemount (15-3) and unbeaten and second-ranked Farmington (18-0).
The Lakers have lost in the section quarterfinals the last two seasons. The team won the crown in 2018, earning its first state berth since becoming a Class 4A program at the start of 2003-04 season.
Prior Lake has made three state appearances in Class 3A; 1999, 2002 and 2003.