By Megan Dierberger – [email protected]

The St. Ben’s basketball team faced a drastic change when senior point guard Alison Newton injured her left shoulder during the Augsburg game on Feb. 8.

Newton is out for the rest of the season and will get an MRI during spring break to look further at her shoulder.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CSB MEDIA RELATIONS. With fellow senior Alison Newton gone, senior Annie Dittberner is leading the Blazers in assists and assists per game, with 46 total and 2.0 per game.

Head Coach Mike Durbin reflected on Newton’s roles on the team over the last four years before ending her final year as a Blazer prematurely.

“Her leadership, communication and ball handling skills are hard to replace and will be missed,” Durbin said.

Newton is the team’s starting point guard. She is St. Ben’s third leading scorer with 156 points and owns the highest average on three-point shots (37.5 percent).

Newton was named MVP at the end of last season and led her team to 10 conference wins.

This injury won’t stop Newton from giving it her all. Her teammates said she is still a crucial part of the team.

Durbin said that they are counting on her to share with her coaches on what she sees from the bench.

“The only change is that Ali is leading from the bench instead of on the court,” junior forward Niki Fokken said. “Her presence is still felt, it doesn’t matter where she is in the gym.”

First-year Sidney Schiffler has taken Newton’s position as the leading point guard. She has learned from Newton this season and will look for more guidance to improve her skills.

“Now that she is injured, I’m just going to have to use everything that I’ve watched her do and try to do my best,” Schiffler said. “It helps to have such a supportive team and coaches that trust me on the court as their point guard.”

The Blazers are using this change as motivation to end their season even stronger.

“Alison has made a huge impact on this team and it is sad to see her go out like that,” Fokken said. “We want to show her that all her hard work, and her injury, wasn’t for nothing which makes us work even harder than before.”

The CSB basketball team is 14-10 overall and 10-7 in the conference.

“We just have to continue to play together and each individual has to contribute to the team, as we all have our own roles,” Schiffler said.

As the team looks ahead to the last regular season game of the year, Durbin says they are ready for the competition.

“[The Blazers] have been very good about playing the next play and not getting caught up on the good or bad that occurred in the previous possession,” Durbin said.

The team currently sits in fourth place in the conference and with the top five teams making playoffs, the Blazers hope to secure their spot with a win in their last regular season game.

Schiffler will lead the Blazers down the court at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at St. Mary’s in Winona.

Feature photo courtesy of CSB Media Relations