CAMERON — Carli Wanink and Maddy Otto had a front row seat on the Cameron bench when their sisters — Chloe Wanink and McKenzie Otto — played at the Resch Center at the 2014 volleyball state tournament. Now the younger duo are ready to make their own to trip to Green Bay.
Wanink and Otto have Cameron atop the Central Lakeland girls basketball standings.
Much like Chloe Wanink, the ball is often in Carli’s hands, but it doesn’t take long to notice her effect on both ends of the floor.
On the defensive end her speed allows her to match up against an opponent’s top scorer while also leading the team in steals, making the Comets very dangerous to go the other way. On the offensive end is where second-year coach Kim Weber feels Wanink is more valuable.
“She does a great job both ways, but offense is usually a good key for her, but she plays great defense too,” Weber said.
Wanink is the Comets’ leading 3-point shooter with 23 triples while also being able to attack the rim to score or get to the free-throw line. Wanink moves the ball well averaging around five assists a game most of those going in the paint to senior Maddy Otto.
“I like Carli at the top,” Otto said. “We do a lot of screen and rolls. I usually roll and she gets it into the post well.”
Otto has been a starter since her sophomore season after getting good playing time coming off the bench as a freshman. Otto, who is Cameron’s fifth all-time leading scorer and just passed sister McKenzie, is the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder. She does most of her work in the paint.
“She’s a very strong rebounder,” Weber said. “She can shoot the 3. She just doesn’t that often.”
That rebounding ability makes her a handful on the defensive end of the floor where she prefers playing.
“I like to play defense a lot,” Otto said. “We’re pretty scrappy on defense.”
While Wanink and Otto get most of the attention from teams, it’s pretty typical to see a 10-player rotation from Weber.
“I have six seniors and six juniors,” Weber said. “I’m deep and I have a great bench.”
The Comets are off to an 8-1 start after dropping the season opener to Northwestern and feel improved team chemistry can build on their success from last season.
“Our team chemistry this year is a lot better, so we connect on and off the court,” Wanink said.
The Comets are coming off their third sectional final in four seasons and have been ranked in the top five all season. They know that they have a target on their back as they try to qualify for their first trip to Green Bay.
“We have to take every game seriously and not back down and play down to teams that are lower then us,” Otto said.