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Depth marks Iowa’s girls basketball contenders

Alex Purdy

Daily Globe

SIBLEY, Iowa — Sibley-Ocheyedan girls basketball coach Jeremy Leusink is hoping to add balance this year.

Throughout last year, the Generals relied heavily on their all-conference forward Bridget Doeden to supply the team’s offense.

“Last year we relied on Bridget for the majority of our offense,” Leusink said. “This year, we’re a little more balanced, and a goal this year is to be more efficient offensively.”

The Generals are in the Siouxland Conference, arguably one of the toughest conferences in Iowa.

“It’s a very competitive conference,” Leusink said. “It’s a fight every night to get a win.”

Returning letter-winners for S-O are seniors Bridget Doeden, Kayla Ackerman, Michaela Wolter, Jenifer Willemssen, Clara Meyer and Alyssa Stofferan. The team also has a returning junior in Brooke Grimes.

The Generals open their season Tuesday against rival George-Little Rock, who finished their season at 13-11 last year. It is a big game, Leusink said.

“They’re a rival. It’s always a big game when we play George-Little Rock,” Leusink said.

Sibley-Ocheyedan finished last year at 9-13 overall.


With only four returning letter winners and only one returning starter, things may take awhile to come together for the Sheldon Orabs.

The club’s returning starter is senior guard/forward Krista Bousema.

A couple of key players who will regularly see playing time for the Orabs are junior Emily Johnson, a scrappy three-point shooter, and junior Sami Kleinwolterink.

Kleinwolterink was 8-for-8 from the field in the Orab’s home opener against Unity Christian.

Even with a small returning squad, the Orabs’ head girls coach Kris Groff knows the girls will get develop throughout the season.

“We will have to be patient with the girls and let them work through problem situations. I feel that they can develop and do pretty well as the season goes on,” Groff said.

The Orabs won their opening game against Unity Chrisitan 49-36.

Harris-Lake Park

The Harris-Lake Park Wolves are looking forward to another successful year after winning the Cornbelt Conference last year with a conference record of 9-1.

The Wolves have no shortage of returning letter winners. Key players coming back include seniors Noreen Morrow, Miranda Bruggeman, Macy Gunderson, Grace Winters and Katherin Ihnen.

Morrow, a 6-2 senior, finished last season with 15.2 points per game, and 11.8 rebounds per game. Bruggeman finished with almost six points per game, and Gunderson led the team with 55 assists and 27 steals. Ihnen, a sophomore this season, finished last year with 100 rebounds, and 26 steals.

The Wolves open their season tonight against Spirit Lake.

George-Little Rock

With seven returing letter-winners, the George-Little Rock Mustangs are hoping for a strong season.

With many young kids in key roles last year, head coach Heather Grafing is looking forward to seeing those girls step up this year and help balance the team both inside and out.

“We have a good core coing back this year,” Grafing said. “We competed well last year, and we are hoping with more experience we can bump it up a bit this year.”

Returning starters for the Mustangs include power-forward Jessica Sandbulte and Danille Eben, who are both juniors.

The Mustangs finished last year with a record of 13-12, and open their season Tuesday against Sibley-Ocheydan.

Central Lyon

Teams always have lofty goals for their respective seasons. This year, the Central Lyon girls’ basketball team has a simple one. Repeat.

The reigning Class 1A state champions want nothing more than another title, but first the Lions have to get through the regular season against a tough conference.

“The Siouxland Conference is an extremely tough conference and there’s really good teams in the conference year in and year out,” Central Lyon’s co-head coach Dan Kruse said. “We do feel we have the talent to be contenders in the conference.”

The Lions return 11 letter-winners from last season. The team’s seniors are Wynter Roths, Claire Synder and Shelby Fastert.

“Our seniors have done a nice job on the leadership side so far,” Kruse said. “It’s still early, but they’ll do a great job being leaders.

The Lions’ offense, which helped earn the team a record of 16-2 in the conference, and 26-2 overall a year ago, is built on speed and quickness.

“We aren’t very tall. We’re athletic. The style of play we play compliments that. We play the press, we use the entire floor and the girls really fit that style,” Kruse said.

Other letter-winners for the Lions are juniors Sarah hallse, Ivy Sieperda, Anger Rasmussen, Kenzie Leuthold, Mackenzie Lutmer and Shaylee Struckman. Sophomores Mattie Knobloch and Kristina Vogt are also joining the varsity squad.

The Lions open up their season Tuesday, Dec. 3 against MOC Flyod Valley, a team also favored to win the conference.

“We’ll know right off the bat where we’ll stand,” Kruse said.