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Whitewater’s Harms happy to coach again

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June 18, 2009

Judy Harms is having the time of her life this week.


Six months ago, she was fighting for her life.


The Whitewater High girls basketball coach suffered a brain aneurysm on Dec. 22 during pregame preparations for the Whippets’ nonconference game against Cambridge. She was transported by Med Flight helicopter to Madison and spent two weeks in the ICU at University Hospital.


Although her recovery has been a constant uphill battle, Harms is winning the fight day by day. The headaches are diminishing, and her energy level continues to rise.


This week, Harms is back on the sidelines as head coach of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 2 South girls all-star team. The team is practicing this week in preparation for Saturday’s 9 a.m. game against the Division 2 North team at Madison Area Technical College.


“There’s nothing like being around this group of girls to motivate me back to doing what I love, and that’s coaching,” Harms said. “It feels really good to be back in the swing of things.


“I wish I was feeling a little better, but I’ve probably tried to do too much too fast. But my assistants have been great this week, and when I get a little bit fatigued, they step right in and we don’t miss a beat.”


Harms has an assortment of talent this week, including Grafton’s Sarah Eichler, the Player of the Year in Wisconsin. Ripon’s Taylor Wurtz, an Associated Press first-team all-state selection and University of Wisconsin recruit, is also on the roster.


Brodhead’s Kristen Ruchti, a UW-Parkside recruit also is on the roster, along with Emily Rufenacht of Monroe.


“We’ve got a great group of kids that continue to look better and better each day,” Harms said. “And not only that, they’re great role models for our youth. They’ve been here this week working at our camps with the younger kids.”


Harms knows that the all-star games are known for their lack of defense.


With a 30-second shot clock in use Saturday and 10 girls on the roster who probably all led their high school teams in scoring, does Harms expect the South to let up on the defensive end?


“There’s some pride at stake in this game, and I think that’s motivation enough to get after it on both ends of the court,” Harms said.


“These girls do so many things right offensively, but they also know that to play at this level, you have to play defense, too.


“It’s a matter of talking defensively and helping out.


“And my biggest job as coach is getting the right combination on the court.”


A job that Judy Harms is glad to be back doing.



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