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Sports Desk – The Amherst Falcons girls basketball team will have a familiar face on the sidelines this winter as they announce new head coach, Shelli Haferbecker.

Shelli began her coaching career at just 24 years old when she took over the top duties at her alma mater. She led the Falcons to the first state title in program history in just her first year and bookended her first stint with a state title in 2009.

During her 11-year run with the Falcons, Haferbecker tallied up 203 wins with six trips to state and those two championships.

After the 2009 season she resigned from coaching to focus on her family which included her three young kids.

Fast-forward 11 more years and now she will get another opportunity to coach the lady Falcons.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be back coaching the varsity,” Haferbecker said. “Super excited to be able to change it up a little bit again and ignite some excitement, not only in the community but for the girls.”

The Falcons coming off a state runner-up appearance three years ago under coach Gregg Jensen, finished the 2019-2020 season at 11-13 with one-year coach Alex Weldon at the helm.

This season Amherst will be transitioning back to division 4 in the playoffs after having spent the previous four seasons in division 3. As the Falcons look to get back into contention for a playoff run, Haferbecker hopes to continue her style of play will help.

“I have always been a real fan of the up-tempo game on the offensive end and on the defensive end,” Haferbecker said. “In any basketball game it is tough to have five really good ball handlers out on the floor at one time and with the press you can exploit the weaknesses of their passing or the ball handling.”

With the recent explosion of three point shooters in boys and girls basketball, Shelli hopes the Falcons can get some easy points off the suffocating press.

“I love to create offensive points off the defensive end, your highest percentage of shots in a game come off of layups,” Haferbecker said. “In the 11 years that I coached I would say a great percentage of the shots all of my teams took were high percentage shots. Simply because we were able to turn the turnovers into layups for points on the offensive end.”

Haferbecker will be the fourth coach for the Falcons in the last 11 years after her first stop in Amherst ended in 2009 and she is hoping to continue the winning ways for Amherst and get back to the state tournament.

Amherst is schedule to kick off the 2020-2021 season at home against Nekoosa on November 17th.

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