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New Lothrop Girls Basketball: Champions, From Frontcourt To Frontline

Eleven years ago Rachelle Vincke (Kviz) woke up on Saturday, March 21st mentally and physically preparing for the biggest game of her life.  Rachelle had been brought up to Varsity her Freshmen and Sophomore years for the tournament run, including being on the New Lothrop Championship team from a year prior but this was different.  She would walk onto the court at Eastern Michigan University that day, along with teammates Ashley Root, Monica Confer, Krista Moore and Amber Sammons, as starters, playing for the ultimate prize.  The Lady Hornets would emerge victorious that day, claiming their 2nd Straight State Title.  What the girls had learned together as a team, over the years, through the process and power of sport, perhaps set themselves up for something greater in the future, something they could carry through for the rest of their lives.

Today, Rachelle has traded in her sneakers for scrubs.  The graduate of CMU (Excercise Science) & MSU (Science) is now an RN at McLaren Hospital in Flint and just recently celebrated her 5th Anniversary there.  She talked about what it’s like today in these trying times on the front line in our battle against COVID-19.  “It’s an uneasy time to be a nurse right now.  One day I was treating patients on the Orthopedic/Telemetry floor and the next thing I know my home floor was turned strictly into a COVID unit.  Normal daily nursing practices have kind of been thrown out the window and we have transitioned to survival mode.  Patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 are extremely sick and it’s getting very difficult to watch a handful of these poor people suffer and die alone.  If the outside world could only see the devastation happening behind closed hospital doors, I believe many people would change their perspective of this virus.  Fortunately with all of the chaos, the entire staff at McLaren has stepped up and the teamwork has been unbelievable the past few weeks.  Whether you need help with a declining patient or even a shoulder to cry on, we always have each other’s back and the support has been nothing short of amazing.  Being a frontline worker, this pandemic has mentally broken down many nurses, doctors, etc., including myself.  This is where the mental toughness kicks in. Just like in the fourth quarter of an intense basketball game, you gather all you have left and push through to the end and that’s exactly what we are doing shift after shift because patients desperately need us. We will continue to show up for them.”

 

 

Rachelle is just one of several Hornet alums from the Championship squads who went on to nursing, along with Kayla Krupp (Henige) and Kayla Birchmeier (Krupp).  All of the Lady Hornets are doing their part in one facet or another.  Amber Sammons is currently a manager at JOANN Fabrics.  “I love my job, especially during these times where our country is under so much uncertainty. I’m glad I have a job where we provide fabric for masks to be made to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Today, each and every player who suited up with the Black & White has taken something with them from their time on and off the court as a Hornet.  Monica Confer attributes a lot to growing up in that atmosphere.  “Outside of learning the value of hard work and maybe this isn’t so much a lesson learned, but rather that the bond you form as a team, helped in forming a lifetime friendship.  I ‘m pretty lucky to say that a lot of the girls I played with are some of my best friends to this day and I have been lucky enough to be a part of things even bigger than state championships, including their weddings, watching them become parents and seeing them excel in their careers.  I attribute a lot of that to the coaches; they put a lot of emphasis on bonding as a team and took the time to ensure we had time to bond off the court with team dinners and other activities.”

For Ashley Kuhl (Root), her time as a Hornet helps her carry on the lessons to others as well.  “I learned a lot of great leadership skills throughout my career.  I also learned that if you want to be the best you have to train that way.  I learned a lot about coaching from Coach Kohlmann and I try to use what I learned from him when I coach my Cross Country runners.”

Both Kayla Gross and Morgan (Wendling)-Weed stressed the hard work and ethic they picked up in their careers.  “Hard work was constantly influenced by coach Kohlmann and that work ethic is something I still apply to my everyday life.” – KG  “There are so many things you can take from playing basketball but I would say to work hard in everything you do and it will pay off.” – MWW

This leads us to the man who was at the helm during the Championship seasons for the New Lothrop Girls Basketball team.  Over 10 seasons, Head Coach Tom Kohlmann compiled a resume of 216-30 wins to losses, 2 State Titles, 3 straight trips to the Final 4, 8 District Championships and 4 League Titles.  Coach Kohlmann brought a pedigree that was built during his own time as a high school and college athlete.  While at Flint Holy Rosary he was earned All-State honors in both Baseball and Basketball to go along with All-League in Football.  Tom would go on to play baseball at the next level, at Mott Community College.

I asked Coach Kohlmann what brought him to New Lothrop and ultimately what got him into Coaching.  “I student taught at New Lothrop in my last semester at college.  That was my first experience with New Lothrop as a school district.  After I graduated from college I was hired by Lapeer public schools.  Two weeks into my second year of teaching I received a call from New Lothrop that they were going to have an opening to teach 5th/6th History and that they hoped I would come in and interview for the job.  I had a very positive experience in my semester of teaching at New Lothrop, so I decided to interview and was lucky enough to get the job.”  On Coaching – “I grew up in a family where my dad was a basketball coach at multiple levels and eventually finished his head coaching career as a J.V. coach at Flint Holy Rosary high school.  I think growing up with a dad that was a coach made me want to not just coach high school basketball but eventually run my own program.  I never pictured myself coaching girls basketball and the New Lothrop Varsity job was the first time I ever coached girls in any sport.  The opportunity presented itself and to be honest they took a chance on a coach that only had 1 year of high school coaching experience, just the one year with freshman boys.  I did my best to sell my vision of how I could take the program to a place that would win the school a lot of games.”

I asked Coach Kohlmann about some of the most special wins, milestones and games along the way, his favorite memories of them.  I remember covering the January 2008 game at Hamady, it seemed like the game was a major victory in more ways than one from what I can remember. As I looked through the photos, the post-game was filled with hugs and family down on the court celebrating with the team.  “We had beat Hamady at New Lothrop by a very slim margin prior to that January game.  I remember getting texts asking if the score was reported incorrectly.  Fellow coaches were in disbelief that we could pull that win off.  That Hamady team was so talented.  The January game at Hamady was a surprising win and especially by that margin.  We felt very lucky to beat them at our place earlier in the season.  They had over 5 girls that would eventually go on to play Division 1 basketball and Keith just does such a great job with his girls.”

 

 

Coach Kohlmann went on to elaborate more on my question of special wins and preparing for each season.  “To me every year we strategically and geographically were scheduling games with the mindset to gain information on how we matched up with teams all over the state.  Beyond the non-league, playing against Hamady and Goodrich every year were special games.  Both Jason Gray and Keith Smith were always well prepared for games that we competed in.  They understood the importance of scouting and I would imagine had multiple films on us before we stepped on the court to compete.  Our goal was to have 3 game films on them against quality opponents prior to playing them.  I always preached to my team that they are going to make plays but they will not run any sets or in-bounds plays that we are not familiar with.  Our approach when we played Goodrich and Hamady or any big game during the regular season was to prepare for it like it was a tournament game.  Those two schools forced you to be at your best and we knew if we weren’t at our best they could potentially blow us out.  I personally embraced those games and didn’t really put a huge emphasis on the outcome. What I did put an emphasis on was how much we learned from playing these types of teams.  Those games exposed what we needed work on in order to be prepared for the tournament.  I believe that mindset allowed my players to embrace those games and play with a little less pressure.  I chose to run a program that put 100% of our efforts into preparing for the tournament.  All games for the regular season were times to experiment and learn how to improve upon our weaknesses. Our goal was simply to make long tournament runs.”

 

And many long tournament runs, they certainly had.  However, reaching the pinnacle would not come before experiencing setbacks and heartbreak.  I asked Coach Kohlmann about the state tournament quarterfinal loss to Hamady in 2006, if it either affected or motivated his program.  “We felt the loss to Hamady in 2006 was a perfectly played game except for probably 40 seconds in which we gave up a 8-10 point run off turnovers from their press.  We felt we took another step in the right direction that season.  It was not the outcome we wanted but we felt we figured some things out that gave us a chance to compete and beat a team like Hamady.  I think that tournament run and returning so many players created expectations.  We had a great summer and our confidence was at an all-time high that we could play with anyone.  I remember having Kayla Gross put together a PowerPoint presentation for the parents at the beginning of the year, parent meeting, we always had.  We ended the presentation with our team goals and the final goal was to win the school’s first State Championship.  The girls embraced that expectation and it fortunately worked out for us.”

When I was looking back on all of the material for this piece and my own coverage, I completely forgot that my first year of covering Girls Basketball was the first year for the Girls’ Basketball season after the move from Fall to the Winter.  I asked Coach Kohlman what it was like, basically have a year and a half go by between tournament games from 2006-2008.  “My initial thoughts were that we may lose a lot, not continuing our summer work right into the start of the school year.  What I learned later for our program is that the change in season was the best thing for us.  We went very hard in the summer maximizing our days we were allotted and I think getting away from basketball and the grind was very beneficial to our program.  The only thing the players didn’t like about the change was losing their basketball conditioning.  That made the first couple of weeks of practice difficult.”

The historic 2007-08 season actually started off with a bump in the road.  The Lady Hornets dropped the season opener on November 27th on the road at Clare by 14 points.  The bump served as a catapult however.  It would be the only loss of the season for this 27 win team.  The bounce back game, ironically was against their rival and league juggernaut, Hamady.  That win would be the first of 32 wins in a row and over a span of 80 games in 3 years, New Lothrop was on the short end of just 5 of them.

 

 

The first postseason run that led to a Championship, the girls were fairly dominant throughout but the title game was a close one.  They actually trailed by 1 to Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart at the half and then Kayla Gross’s 3 pointer put them ahead early in the 3rd, never to trail again but several tie games after that.  I asked Coach Kohlmann to talk about that game a bit and how the girls were handling the pressure situation, (which from my vantage point, taking photos on the sidelines) seemed to be pretty well!  “We had been in big games throughout the season, so I think the girls felt more confident then I did entering the game.  Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart was so much bigger than we were and the coach’s daughter was the Class D player of the year.  Their size was a major concern.  Our center Kayla Krupp was 5’6 and we didn’t play anything besides a straight man.  The match-ups were not ideal and most people didn’t realize it outside of New Lothrop but in the semis Kayla Krupp severely sprained her ankle after the game celebrating with the student section.  I wasn’t even told until the pregame practice.  Her practice was treating her ankle and hoping she could play the next day.  Sacred Heart played a really good match-up zone and we had not played against that defense all year.  We moved the ball well and were very patient.  We knew anytime we got a touch in the paint they would collapse and that would allow us to get a good look from a kick out pass for a 3 point shot.  Defensively at halftime, we identified that if we did not pressure the ball and dare them to beat us off the dribble, the pass in the post was way too easy.  We did not do that within the first 20 seconds of the half and that is why we called such a quick timeout.  That had to be corrected for us to have a chance.  The other weakness that Kayla Gross identified during the game was that their forwards were pushing up too high on our wings and we could slide a shooter behind and get a good look on the baseline.  During a timeout we drew up the scenario that she thought would be open.  That is the exact play that led to the big 3 point shot that gave us the lead that as it turns out we would never give up again.  That game was much closer then the final score.  Free throw shooting ended up being what allowed us to put the game away.”

 

 

In sports, achieving the ultimate prize is hard but repeating is usually even more difficult.  I asked Coach Kohlmann what his team team used for motivation, for hunger to get back to the court and do it all again with the same intensity and fight?  “We graduated three starters from the previous state champion team.  I think the motivation was proving that the system allows players to reach their potential and play at a high level.  The returning players felt they had something to prove replacing such talented players.  We believed it was more than just talented players.  It is how we practice every day.  It is about our discipline we play with when we step out on the floor.  It was pretty clear in the summer that we were going to have another chance to make a run again . I think the players expected to repeat and the way they worked, getting ready for the tournament definitely paid off.”

 

 

In the 2009 tournament run, the Hornets only had 2 games that were wins of less than 20 points, the closest was the Quarterfinal game, a 13 point win and an 18 point win in the title game.  Coach Kohlmann talked about what led to such dominance and the factors involved.  “I think a huge factor was being there before and knowing what to expect along the way.  Our scouting was outstanding.  The amount of film we had was a big factor to our success.  This team just like the one before, was so connected on the floor when they played together.  There just weren’t any mental mistakes on either side of the ball and when you have 5 pieces functioning together and trusting their teammates good things are going to happen.  It’s probably underrated how well each player embraced their role of what would make the team reach its fullest potential.  We had players that were All-State, but we also had players that were capable of stepping up and playing like All-Staters. I think their attention to detail was outstanding and understanding that when something was taken away it allowed something else to be open.  When you have players all seeing it the same way it makes it very difficult to stop them.  There were no lanes to drive against our defense.  Everyone did box out and only allowed one shot every time down the floor.  Every offensive possession was about making the right decision and everything else would take care of itself.  I didn’t realize it until I watched an interview after the State Championship game with one of the opposing players but I think a lot of our opponents were intimidated.  That game was tight in the first quarter but they were waiting for things to fall apart on their end.  We just didn’t think that way no matter who we played.  After the first quarter we made some defensive adjustments to counter what they wanted to do offensively and that allowed us to gain control of the game.  In the 3rd quarter Krista Moore hit two 3 pointers to give us an 18 point lead.  I didn’t say it out loud but in my mind Krista put the game out of reach.  They did us a favor going into a zone and allowing us to stall some of the clock away and for the second straight season Ashley Root shut the player of the year down.  Her defense really affected what our opponents wanted to do for two straight seasons.”

 

 

In the 2009-10 season, the Hornets returned a good core from the previous year and were poised to make a run at a Three-Peat.  Coming into the season, Coach Kohlmann expected that they would once again be placed in the Class D tournament, as they had been in the previous 2 years.  When the tournament lines were drawn based upon the enrollments, New Lothrop would be placed in Class C, just 5 students above the Class D mark.  Not only would they be playing up a class but they would be playing in a tournament where Class C was much deeper than usual.  I asked Coach Kohlmann to talk about that tourney run and the grind of a 3 point win over Valley Lutheran in the District Semi-Finals, a 2 point win over Reese in the District Final, a 2 point win over Allen in the Quarters and the slug-fest with Hamady in the Final 4, where the girls gave it their all to the final buzzer.  “The 2010 tournament run was the deepest tournament that I can recall.  There were double digit teams that were capable of winning the State Championship that year.  We knew our district was loaded with talent and we did not get a good draw having to go through Valley Lutheran and Reese. Both teams were very talented and well coached.  In the Districts I think we had the mindset that if we just kept the score close we would find a way.  I think confident teams tend to do that.  I don’t think it is luck, I think it is just the mindset they have.  Both of those teams were very well prepared for our games.  Valley Lutheran’s Coach Roekle knew us very well.  We would do a summer scrimmage together, so we knew that was going to be a tough game.  Reese had home court and had very good balance within their team.  Definitely that was the toughest district we had ever been a part of.  I remember the Reese game was tied with under 20 seconds to go and we didn’t believe in calling a time out and letting the opponent set their defense, so we got right into our offense.  The girls ran their motion knowing that a touch needed to go to Confer or Sammons to make a decision and that is exactly what they did.  Confer touched it with under 10 seconds on the clock and hit a floater for the win. From there we cruised through Regionals with wins against Brown City and Nouvel.  Detroit Allen was a game we thought we had control of but their physicality on defense and the way the game was reffed made that game one we were happy to just find a way to win.  I just remember our motion struggling to be fluid with a lot of clutching on the backside of the offense.  Similar to the Reese game we had the ball with time running down and decided to not call a timeout, and sure enough the girls found Confer who hit the game winner.”

“The Hamady game in the semis was so typical of a Hamady/New Lothrop game.  It always seemed like a big momentum type play would swing the game one way or the other.  We played flawlessly in the 1st half with sophomore Morgan Wendling having her best scoring half of the year.  We had a tough spurt in the 3rd quarter where Hamady scored 6-8 straight points off turnovers from their press but I thought the play that really hurt us was when Morse hit a half court at the buzzer to end the 3rd quarter.  They rode that energy to a well deserved win and we just could not find a way to get the momentum back.  That one still stings. I just assumed that we would find a way.”

 

 

It wasn’t meant to be in 2010, Hamady would go on and win the State Championship just 2 days later, their 2nd Straight State Title.  2 GAC schools took home half of the State Championship Trophies in 2009 and if enrollment a few students different in 2010, the same may have very well happened.  It was a run for the ages, the Senior Class of Confer, Kviz, Moore and Sammons had been there for the three straight Final 4s but would be moving on to the next level in life just a few months after the dust of the tourney settled.  Just a few weeks later, in early April, Coach Kohlmann added to the changing of the guard in the program.  He announced that he would be stepping down as Coach.  It was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly and actually had a timeline put in place several years earlier for the exit.

I was able to catch up with several of the New Lothrop alums, to gather their reflection and check in on how life is today.

 

First Year/Class on Varsity, (Freshman, Sophomore, etc)

My Freshman Year

Honors, Awards (All-State, Conference, etc) During your time on Varsity at New Lothrop

All-State All-Conference

Memory/Feeling of your first game and/or basket on Varsity.

The first game I was a nervous wreck and probably just hoping to get in the game.

How you would describe the Girls Basketball Tradition and New Lothrop, the pride to suit up as a Hornet.

Coach Kohlmann created a very successful program under his tenure and not to be cliche but a tradition of excellence.  We were expected to win every year.

Most memorable game(s). moment(s).

The most memorable game was definitely the state championship my senior year.  I obviously couldn’t have imaged my career at New Lothrop ending any better.

Things you were most proud of during your time on Varsity.

The things I am most proud of during my time are varsity would be the constant success of our team every year, upsetting Hamady and my personal growth from my freshman year to my senior year.

Update on life, family, etc. Anything you want to share about something good in these tough times!

Currently live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Just started a new job as a Territory Manager for Virginia Tile. Have used my New Lothrop winning mentality to win 14 Sport and Social Flag Football Championships in a row.

 

First Year/Class on Varsity, (Freshman, Sophomore, etc)

Freshman (2006 basketball season back when basketball was a fall sport!)

Honors, Awards (All-State, Conference, etc) During your time on Varsity at New Lothrop

  • Class D First Team All-State (2009)
  • Class C First Team All-State (2010)
  • Argus-Press Shiawassee County Area Player of the Year (2010)
  • First Team All-GAC (2009 and 2010)
  • Mid-Michigan Prep All Mid-Michigan Team – Second team (2010)
  • Third in State for 3-point percentage (2009)

Memory/Feeling of your first game and/or basket on Varsity.

First Varsity game, without a doubt, I was very nervous.  The game was kind of a blur, but it was a big game as we traveled to Frankenmuth for a non-conference game and came out with a win!

How you would describe the Girls Basketball Tradition and New Lothrop, the pride to suit up as a Hornet.

There are very high expectations, and players coming through the program are aware of that and what is required to meet those expectations.  It meant a lot to put on a New Lothrop jersey because it was more than just the team we were representing, it was the community we are representing because those people in the community are the ones who built the tradition, among all sport programs, before us.  They are the ones who set the winning mentality and continued to support the teams that followed them even after their days of putting on a jersey were over and you felt that when you were at a game because given how few people actually live in New Lothrop.  It was impressive to see the amount of fans in the stands, especially during tournament time.

Most memorable game(s). moment(s).

Without a doubt, both state championship games.  Outside of those, the Morley Stanwood game my senior year.  It was opening game of my senior year, running with a 7 person squad.  We were held scoreless in the first quarter at Morley Stanwood and came back to win in triple overtime.  I also lost the jump ball in the initial toss and all three that proceeded it in the overtimes, to Alexis Hunt, so that was the not so great part of this (laughing).

Things you were most proud of during your time on Varsity.

What we accomplished over the four years as a program.  We were a small school who emphasized working hard and playing team basketball and it paid off.  We were constantly undersized (in my last three years, we had no one over 5’8”) and my senior year, we had a team of 7 ladies, three of which were sophomores and I think that said a lot about us as a team and the work we put in to be successful.

Update on life, family, etc. Anything you want to share about something good in these tough times!

I graduated from Northwood University with a degree in accounting followed by graduating from U of M – Flint with my MBA.  I currently work in public accounting for Deloitte & Touche as an auditor in Midland, MI.  Outside of the stay-at-home order, I enjoy staying occupied by traveling, both locally and internationally, spending time in the summer up in Traverse City and visiting friends and family back in New Lothrop.  I’m also vigorously trying to convince my fiancé to let us get a dog and planning for January 2021 wedding up in Traverse City!

 

First Year/Class on Varsity, (Freshman, Sophomore, etc)

I was brought up to Varsity my Freshman and Sophomore year of high school for the State Tournament.  I was a Junior for my first year on Varsity.

Honors, Awards (All-State, Conference, etc) During your time on Varsity at New Lothrop

GAC Honorable Mention Junior and Senior, Academic All State Junior and Senior

Memory/Feeling of your first game and/or basket on Varsity.

It’s hard to put into words how I felt playing in my first varsity basketball game.  Playing on the NL varsity basketball team was a big deal and I remember my heart racing when the first whistle blew.  It was exciting and very scary at the same time because I had a legacy to live up to.

How you would describe the Girls Basketball Tradition and New Lothrop, the pride to suit up as a Hornet.

To be a part of any sport at New Lothrop was always considered and honor.  Every time I would put a NL jersey on, a sense of pride always overtook me.  NL is built on integrity which continues to be represented through sports, academics and the support of the community.  You have to earn your spot on the court through hard work, discipline, and excellent sportsmanship.  To have been a key player on such an outstanding basketball team was a great accomplishment.

Most memorable game(s). moment(s).

Senior year, we had our game opener against Morley Stanwood.  We knew Morley Stanwood was a tough team but we had practiced, prepared, and strategized all week for the match up.  Unfortunately, we did not show up to play the first half.  At one point we were down 19 points.  The half time pep talk from Coach Kohlmann was one I will never forget.  His intensity and passion lit a fire in us and the second half of the game was a complete 180.  Our team pulled together and made history after coming back from a 19 point deficit and bringing home the win.  We gained a confidence that day that carried us through the rest of the season.

The basketball District Finals senior year we faced state ranked Reese, which was the same school that ended the volleyball state tournament run a few months prior with a devastating loss first round of districts.  Our volleyball team was predicted to advance far in the state tournament, so to lose to Reese again was not an option in our minds.  The game was neck and neck the entire game, the stakes were high but the intensity was higher.  There were a few seconds left in the 4th quarter, New Lothrop was only up by 2 points and it was Reese’s ball.  A half-court shot was taken by Reese in the final second. The ball hit the backboard, then the rim and ultimately the shot was missed.  It was a scary moment but when the buzzer went off ending the game, the joy and excitement exploded and I remember jumping on my teammate/best friend Monica Confer.  It was one of the happiest moments of my basketball career. We deserved that win.

Things you were most proud of during your time on Varsity.

I was proud of the blood, sweat, and tears each player put into each practice and every game, especially the 2009-2010 season.  There were only seven girls on the team that year and we still out ran our opponent 99% of the time.  We were disciplined, motivated, conditioned and well coached by Coach Kohlmann and his dad.  We may have fell just short of the state championship game but I was proud of the well-rounded team we became that year.  We were a family.

Update on life, family, etc. Anything you want to share about something good in these tough times!

Since graduating high school in 2010, I graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Exercise Science and completed a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing at Michigan State University.  I married Trevor, my high school sweetheart  In May of 2019 and I recently celebrated my 5th year anniversary at McLaren Flint Hospital where I have worked as a Registered Nurse the last 3.5 years.

 

First Year/Class on Varsity, (Freshman, Sophomore, etc)

I was brought up to Varsity as a Freshman.

Honors, Awards (All-State, Conference, etc) During your time on Varsity at New Lothrop

All-State and All-Conference as a Junior and Senior.

Memory/Feeling of your first game and/or basket on Varsity.

I remember my first varsity basketball game vividly.  Nothing can make me forget how I felt the first time I stepped on the court as a freshman playing against the older girls who looked like the size Giants at the time (lol).  My first basket, I don’t quite remember how that went but what I do know is that it was something special and started my journey for the rest of my years playing as a Hornet at NL High.  It was a stepping stone that led me to the type of player that I ended being molded into.  With the help of my teammates and coaches, the rest was history.

How you would describe the Girls Basketball Tradition and New Lothrop, the pride to suit up as a Hornet.

I would describe the Girl’s Basketball Tradition in three words.  Dedicated. Motivated. And Perseverance.  To me, those are the words that come to mind when i think of the teams that i played for and the teams that were together after us.  For the teams I played for, we made sure every time we put that jersey on that we knew it was time for business.  There wasn’t any time to play around once that ball was tipped off.  It was nothing but play together, stay focused and win.  In our team huddles before the game, we would go over our game-plan, we knew the girls we had to play tougher on and what kinds of plays were going to work and what wouldn’t.  Our determination alone and the fact that every player on my teams had the same goal, that’s what helped us become so successful.

Most memorable game(s). moment(s).

A favorite game of mine personally that I will never forget and even had this game made into a DVD (laughing).  We were playing our biggest rival Flint Hamady and we always had a problem beating them in the past.  I was a sophomore at the time and we were on our home court.  I went off for 27 point which over half of my points were accounted for in the first half.  I just kept coming down the floor and hitting three after three and the crowd and my team are going wild.  I was on cloud nine and that was one of the best games of all my four years of high school.  I WILL NEVER FORGET IT!

The most memorable times that happened while I was on Varsity, without a doubt, were winning back-to-back state titles my sophomore and junior years.  That kind of accomplishment trumps everything.  Winning those made all of the morning practices, two-a-days, sprints and workouts worth it.  All the hard sweat and tears that I helped put into those four years of basketball,  I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Things you were most proud of during your time on Varsity.

Some things that I took away from playing basketball in high school that I put into everyday life are the lessons from my two coaches that they instilled in me  and that would last for years to come.  They taught me the importance of hard work and what it takes to work as a team.  They showed me to never give up when things get hard and that you’re strong enough to get through whatever hardship you come across whether it’s in sports or throughout life.  I still talk to them this day.  I just texted coach while writing out this interview because i had trouble remembering my accolades (laughing).

Update on life, family, etc. Anything you want to share about something good in these tough times!

Outside of my job at JOANN’s, in my spare time, I call myself a full-time video game streamer.  I play various games but my main game of choice is NBA2k.  I’ve been apart of the NBA 2k community for almost 2 years.  My dream is to become a professional NBA2k gamer and the second female to get drafted.

 

First Year/Class on Varsity, (Freshman, Sophomore, etc)

First full year of Varsity was as a Sophomore, called up from the Freshmen team for Districts.

Honors, Awards (All-State, Conference, etc) During your time on Varsity at New Lothrop

As a junior I was 2nd team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State. As a senior I was 1st team All-Conference, All-Area Shiawassee County, All-Region, All-Area Saginaw, 1st team All-State BCAM, individual academic All-State.

How you would describe the Girls Basketball Tradition and New Lothrop, the pride to suit up as a Hornet.

We strive for excellence and show Hornet pride on and off the court.  We also had the best support system.  Our crowds were always huge and full of love for our team and for the game.  The support we had from our community made playing the game that much better.

Most memorable game(s). moment(s).

Any of our games against rival Hamady were very memorable, win or lose but my most cherished memories are of winning states my junior and senior year.

Things you were most proud of during your time on Varsity.

Our teams willingness to do whatever needed to be done to strive for greatness.  We trained hard but we enjoyed every minute of it because we knew we were getting ready for that next big game.

Update on life, family, etc. Anything you want to share about something good in these tough times!

I’m happily married, living in Saginaw with our 2 sons; 1.5 years and 2 months and our golden retriever.  I teach 4th grade at New Lothrop and coach Cross Country.

 

First Year/Class on Varsity, (Freshman, Sophomore, etc)

Freshman Season

Honors, Awards (All-State, Conference, etc) During your time on Varsity at New Lothrop

Honorable Mention my Sophomore year, Second-Team Junior year, All-State, Senior year, MVP Junior and Senior year.  Career assist record Senior year.

Memory/Feeling of your first game and/or basket on Varsity.

I was a nervous wreck going out as a freshman into my first varsity game especially since it was a major game against a non-conference school.

How you would describe the Girls Basketball Tradition and New Lothrop, the pride to suit up as a Hornet.

The girls basketball tradition at New Lothrop is unlike any other school. I took great pride in putting on a hornet jersey and stepping out onto the floor for game day.  Coach Kohlmann’s practices were intense.  We came to win.  We put in a lot of time and work into camps, scrimmages and practices, so that we were more than prepared when it was game time.

Most memorable game(s). moment(s).

The most memorable games were any time we would play Flint Hamady.  The games were always so close and intense.  The stands were always packed with cheering fans.  It was the best feeling.  A memorable moment was when we played Hamady at MSU for the semifinal game my sophomore year.  We had 7 players on our team.  No other team was conditioned like us.  The score was neck and neck and I hit a 3 at the buzzer going into halftime to put us in the lead.  It was a great feeling.  Although we lost the game I remember it like it was yesterday.  I have so many great memories being able to play with my friends and create bonds that have carried into my adult life.

Things you were most proud of during your time on Varsity.

I think just being on varsity as a Freshman was a proud moment.  I had worked hard for many years leading up to that point.  Winning the state championship as a Freshman was pretty awesome too.  There was a lot of pressure from winning the championship the year prior.  Not many schools can say they won state titles back to back.

Update on life, family, etc. Anything you want to share about something good in these tough times!

I am happily married of almost 4 years to my husband Zach.  We have a 2 year old son Ryder whose favorite thing to do is play with his basketball (Which makes his Momma happy).  We are expecting another baby boy in September.

 

First Year/Class on Varsity, (Freshman, Sophomore, etc)

Called up for the Playoffs during my Sophomore season.

How you would describe the Girls Basketball Tradition and New Lothrop, the pride to suit up as a Hornet.

Teamwork, patience and practice were just as important as a game.

Most memorable game(s). moment(s).

Back to Back championship games

Things you were most proud of during your time on Varsity.

Teamwork, Team chemistry and respect that we displayed to others and the respect others had for us.

Update on life, family, etc. Anything you want to share about something good in these tough times!

Happily married to my high school sweetheart, have two children, and work as an RN.

AND FINALLY …

Coach Kohlmann reflected on what helped his team succeed, what made them come through when they were pressed.  “The thing I have come to realize is that the way we ran our practices was a lot different than most programs do.  I think every player would say that our practices are not like most girls teams during that time frame of play.  We conditioned in some way or form for almost 90 minutes of our 2 hour practice.  Just about all of our conditioning involves a skill with a basketball.  We were huge into strengthening the core, jumping rope and spent more time on dribbling skills then anyone I know.  Early in my coaching career it was evident that we couldn’t beat the top teams without good decision makers and that all starts with how well you can dribble a basketball.  I always thought the girls buying into lifting 3 days a week after practice was something that also gave us a huge advantage.  Practices were designed to make the games seem easier. They were tough, competitive and extremely detailed with certain expectations every day.”

 

 

And my last question to Coach Kohlmann, 10 years ago this month, after he made the decision to step down, on how life is today.  “Today I am in my 22nd year of teaching at New Lothrop.  I currently teach 7th and 8th grade history.  I’m Married to my beautiful wife Dana of 20 years, who is also a teacher and am fortunate to have 4 great kids, 3 boys and a girl.  My kids are the reason I stepped down from coaching.  I felt it was important to be there for whatever sport they wanted to pursue.  My two oldest boys Drew (11th) and Ty (9th) were a part of an 18-4 boys basketball season at New Lothrop this year. Drew has had a lot of success with Cross Country (3rd best time in school history) and Track. Ty was fortunate enough to be named honorable mention all league and All Argus (Press) in his freshman season.  My daughter Kelsey (6th) and Brady (4th) both are involved in basketball as well.  I am still involved in coaching their teams at the younger level.  The kids all play multiple sports.  I really think it is important to be well rounded as an athlete and a student.”

The three-year season span from 2007-2010 saw the New Lothrop Hornets Girls Basketball Program rack up 75 wins and, including 2 of the biggest wins in school history.  2 State Championships that put the program on the map statewide and added another notch on the belt for one of the best pound for pound overall athletic programs in the state.  The memories on and off the court for the girls that passed through the program during this time will last a lifetime but more importantly now, it’s the lessons they also learned and now apply that move themselves and everyone around them, forward, today.

And in closing, words of encouragement from Rachelle Vincke (Kviz) back on the frontline.  “During this dark time, there is brightness showing through.  The support from family, friends, and the community has been uplifting and comforting.  A lot of people are praying for us, sending thank you cards and making sure we are fed every shift at the hospital.  The outpouring of love and encouragement from the community keeps us going. We know we are not alone and we will get through this.”

Co-Founder of the Varsity News Network, Web Designer, Amateur Photographer and Creative, Football Connoisseur and Administrator of a few thousand sites across the country.

matthew@fridaynighttitans.com