MW BASKETBALL: Lady Jays looking to keep momentum going
WORTHINGTON -- A week ago, Mike Fury would have taken a 2-1 start. "I would have taken it because it means we beat two good teams somewhere in there," said Fury, who enters his 30th season at the helm of the Minnesota West women's basketball team...
WORTHINGTON -- A week ago, Mike Fury would have taken a 2-1 start.
"I would have taken it because it means we beat two good teams somewhere in there," said Fury, who enters his 30th season at the helm of the Minnesota West women's basketball team. "It doesn't get any easier."
MW already has victories against Madison Area Technical College -- the defending national champions -- and against a traditionally-tough Iowa Lakes team.
"That was good win for us, it's been a long time since we've gone to Iowa Lakes and won a game," Fury said. "I told (assistant coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka), from last Thursday, playing two games over the weekend and practicing on Monday, we became a better team already."
The victories have given a relatively young Lady Jay team confidence.
"We're off to a good start," Fury said. "That's the kind of thing we wanted. I think that confidence is so important, we have a little now.
"I think we have to keep working and we just have to keep playing. We're going to play tough teams. We're not going to have a chance to roll over anybody, I don't think. We're going to have to play hard every game, which is good for us. I think it makes us better."
The Lady Jays continue their tough schedule today when the University of Sioux Falls Junior Varsity visits. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. It is also "Meet the Jays" day for both the men's and women's teams.
A big reason for the early success has been the play of sophomore Sam Lynn.
"(Tuesday) she played very good. If she can have a continuation of that, she's dynamite," Fury said. "She's a very good basketball player, but we knew that all along. We're just so glad to have her again. She's our leader. The good thing is that her, Alyssa (Smith) and LoRel (Christensen) are great leaders. They set a good example."
With Lynn, Smith and Christensen returning, Fury added a good group of freshmen this season.
One of those additions is former Adrian Dragon Erica Thier, a former teammate of Lynn's. After sitting out a year, Thier is back on the court.
"She's such a good athlete," Fury said. "It was kind of getting in the swing of playing basketball again. She's a good player. I think she was the third leading scorer in Adrian history and the leading 3-point shooter. What to great player to add into the arsenal."
Along with Thier, Edgerton graduate Alyson Drooger has been a big addition for the Lady Jays.
"Alyson is really a tough matchup," Fury said. "She's 6-feet, or 6-1 and she doesn't go inside. It's going to be a guard guarding her on the perimeter, which is a bad mismatch. Then if we do have a chance, maybe we can run her in and post her up. She can post up. She's a hard mismatch."
Worthington graduates Kayla Schroeder and Kayla Vander Veen also join a freshman class that includes Stephanie Maras (Red Rock Central) and Christa Wik (Roslyn, S.D.).
"We've always said over the years, if we can take an all-star team from the Red Rock Conference, we'd be competitive over and over every year," Fury said. "That conference has a lot of good basketball players. Then you throw in the Lady Trojans, they've had nothing but success forever. It's just a good combination. We're fortunate that the girls considered coming here."
With the talented perimeter players the Lady Jays have this season, the school record of 790 3-pointers might be in jeopardy.
"We're going to shoot them," Fury said "They are good looks, and (Tuesday) we had a bunch of good looks again, too. We just have to get them going.
"We still have to be able to board up inside. I think we have to be able to get some rebounds. I think that's where Christa is going to help us a lot. I think we're going to play more on the perimeter than on the inside."
While teams like Anoka-Ramsey and Rochester will be good again this season, Fury expects his team to be in the thick of the Southern Division race.
"I tell you, if we get going, we might be the team to reckon with," the coach said. "That would be fun if everybody is looking up at us. We can do that, we just have to rebound a little bit to be that tough, tough team. I think we're in the mix. Anybody that's going to beat us is going to have to play pretty good."