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Turnaround for Russell girls sets up good match with TMP

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

RUSSELL -- Russell High School junior forward/center Janna Schulte has helped the Broncos' girls' basketball team experience a big turnaround. Not only has Schulte helped on the court, but her dad, Frank, is the coach and has orchestrated the big change.

"It's just to great get to do something with my dad like this," Janna Schulte said.

Russell, winless in girls' basketball a couple years ago, is 6-2 this season after winning 15 and 14 contests the last two seasons. Schulte has coached many of the players since fifth grade and is in his fourth year with the varsity.

On Friday, Russell will play host to Thomas More Prep-Marian. A win would mark another step for the program. Since 2008, Russell is 0-6 versus the Monarchs -- the lone team the Broncos have faced more than twice in that span and haven't defeated.

From '08-10, Russell lost three games to TMP by 55, 50 and 42 points. The last three seasons, it's been nine, 18 and nine points.

At home, sometimes player and coach talk little about the sport. Not with the Schultes. Janna smiled and said she and her father talk about basketball "all the time."

"It's definitely a lot different from when my dad is not my coach to when he is, because he puts a lot more pressure on me," Schlute said. "He tends to pick out mistakes, but I really enjoy it. ... Also if there is like any little issues or anything going on, I can relay those to him."

Senior Madison Beagley and Janna Schulte pace Russell. Beagley, able to play inside and outside, averages a team-high 17.5 points per contest. Beagley is 9 of 23 from beyond the arc this season, team-highs in both categories, for 39 percent. Schulte is at 9.1 points per game and leads the squad with 7.5 rebounds.

"I have never told Madison not to take a shot," Coach Schulte said. "She needs to shoot. My daughter needs to shoot. I would like to see them take the bigger portion of our shots because they are our bigs down low -- high-percentage shots. However, if Madison is open for a 3, as she showed (last Friday against Beloit), she can make them."

Colleges looking at Beagley

After Russell's contest against Beloit, Beagley had a stream of college coaches who spoke with her. In addition to playing well for Russell, Beagley has played in Kansas City on MAYB teams the last couple summers and gained exposure. Hutchinson Community College, a national junior college powerhouse, is high on her list.

"I have talked to, on average, probably about 10 schools," Beagley said. "I have about five offers right now. I haven't committed, but I think I am looking more to go to the JuCo route right now and then get to a higher level, D1 or D2 in the future, but I have offers from other schools."

Russell boys struggling

The Russell boys are 0-8 and have struggled in every game this season. Opponents have collectively outscored them 500-247.

"I knew we were going to have a tough time," coach Mark Paul said. "At times, we can move the ball and do things along that line. It gives us a little bit of a chance. Our biggest thing right now is that we get down on ourselves, and then ball doesn't move well."