Silver Bay had its best season in more than a decade in 2017-18, winning 13 games after winning a maximum of six in a season just twice since 2004-05.
The Mariners even had a stretch where they won seven of eight games and had a chance at a winning season until they were derailed by a 43-37 loss to Nashwauk-Keewatin in the regular season finale and a 44-40 loss to Cook County in the first round of the Section 7A playoffs.
While there are several players returning from last season's squad - seniors Alexxa DeQuevedo, Julia Littlewolf and Amiah Mitchell - but gone is Jocelyn Russell, the Mariners' leading scorer for the previous three seasons.
DeQuevedo and Littlewolf have proven to be solid defenders in the past, but Silver Bay relied on Russell for the bulk of its scoring. DeQuevedo is potentially the best all-around athlete on the team - she qualified for the Minnesota Class A track meet each of the past three years in the 100 and 300 hurdles. DeQuevedo has been the Mariners' lockdown defender in the past, but her scoring totals haven't matched her defensive play.
First-year coach John Sandstrom said he hasn't found who Silver Bay's top scoring option will be this season, but he's more focused on ensuring the girls have a positive experience than piling up wins.
"Don't get me wrong - I want to win - but there is more to it than that," Sandstrom said. "We've got a lot of goofy things, though. Games we lose, the girls have to go to a classroom and sing the school song. Games we win, I go to a classroom and sing the school song.
"Those are things I'm hoping are memories for them and make them smile," he said. "It brings your team together."
Silver Bay will begin its season against Duluth Marshall at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, in Duluth.