(Courtesy of Holliston Town Pages)-Kurt Lorenzen is Holliston High’s new girls’ basketball coach and to say that the 57-year-oldIllinois native is well-qualifiedto handle the position would be a monumental understatement, because he’s paid his dues at every conceivable level. Lorenzen played high school and college basketball, and he’s coached at the youth level (in Holliston) and in AAU programs. He’s also been around the block as an interscholastic coach. At Holliston, he’s been the girls’ freshman and junior varsity coach, and he also served as a varsity assistant. A resident of Holliston for the last 23 years, he played guard for three varsity seasons at Crete- Monee High School in Illinois and was a league and all-state selection. He also was his team’s captain as a junior and senior and was chosen as the league MVP. A top-notch shooter, the 6-foot-2 guard scored more than 1,000 points in his career, num- bers that earned him a scholar- ship to Division 1 Eastern Illinois University. His college career included four varsity seasons, the last one- and-a-half spent as a starter for the Panthers. “My best game in college was my last game as a senior,’’ Lo- renzen recalled. “We were play- ing our rival — Western Illinois — and I scored 20 points. But, it was my free-throw shooting that helped us win by two points. I sank four free throws in the last 20 seconds.’’Lorenzen, who owns a manu- facturer’s representative firm, began coaching in the Holliston Youth Basketball Program when his children started playing. He coached for eight years, then be-came vice president and fulfilledthat role for 12 more years. At Holliston, he coached the fresh- man girls for three years, then worked for six seasons as a varsity assistant for head coach Kristen Hedrick. He later took the jayvee reins for two-and-a-half years and, last May, accepted the var- sity position when Dan Keefe resigned to devote more time to his job in the Natick Recreation Department. “I’m excited about coaching the varsity,’’ Lorenzen said. “Ifeel confident about my ability. Iknow the Tri Valley League andall the teams. When I officiallygot the job, it was great to hear from opposing coaches. They all were very welcoming.’’ Lorenzen wasted little time meeting his players, most of whom he’s coached at the jay-vee level. “My first meeting waswith our three captains,’’ he said. “Brooke Geoffroy, Melaine Colman and Eliza Altobelli are quality captains who’ll lead by example and by being vocal. Then, I next met with our re- turning players to discuss training and summer league play. The theme at both meetings focused on expectations and goals.’’Lorenzen’s objectives as var- sity coach are clear and direct. They involve improvement and achievement. “We want to get better as a team, and that means improving individually,’’ he em- phasized. “We also want to com- pete hard in the TVL and aim for a berth in the tournament.’’ A proponent of fast-break basketball, Lorenzen would like to develop a style that “stresses full speed, lots of running and pressure defense.’’ If his play- ers are talented and technique- oriented, an up-tempo game isdefinitely in the mix. “We’ll be without four senior starters from last year,’’ Lorenzen noted. “We’ve got seven return- ees, so some girls from the jayvees will have to step up. We’ll have some size and an inside presence. If our work ethic is good and we develop team chemistry, then our rebounding and defense will be strengths.’’ When compiling a roster, Lo-renzen has some specific attri- butes he looks for in prospective players. “I prefer players who are fundamentally sound, athletic and coachable,’’ he said. “A high basketball IQ is also desirable along with a strong work ethic. And, quickness and speed are also assets.’’The Panthers last winter earned a playoff berth but were eliminated early, losing to league powerhouse Hopkinton. The tourney date, however, ended a two-year absence from post- season play. To be a playoff team continually isn’t easy but if Lorenzen’s forces adhere to his philosophy, they should enjoy success. “Winning will happen if the girls relay on teamwork, funda- mentals, going full-speed on both offense and defense and being eager to improve every day,’’ Lorenzen emphasized. “Basket- ball can be a great experience but players have to be account- able but also enjoy their athletic experience. I want them to learn valuable life lessons that will help them get ready for their next step.’’ There are a number of coaches who helped prepare Lo- renzen for his step-up. He points to his college coach (Rick Samu- els), Hedrick and Keefe. “Rick taught me the concepts of what it takes to be a coach,’’ Lorenzen noted. “He taught his players how to deal with person- alities. I still use some of his techniques and terminology today. When I worked as Kristen’s as- sistant and later with Dan, we learned a lot from each other. Kristen taught me to be a good listener. Both she and Dan were very supportive of my taking the varsity job.’’ Lorenzen, who hopes to add a new jayvee coach soon and possi- bly a freshman coach, is married, and he and his wife Barbara have a son (Christian) and a daughter (Kylie). His daughter, who be- came Holliston’s fourth female player to scored 1,000 points,finished her junior year at South- ern New Hampshire University as a collegiate all-American and a Northeast-10 all-star. She av- eraged 17.5 points and 9.5 re- bounds a game. Like her father, who sharp- ened his skills playing for the Panthers at Eastern Illinois, she honed her technique playing for the Panthers at Holliston High. Now, it’s Kurt Lorenzen’s time to develop a new corps of Panthers who just may become playoff contenders on a regular basis.