MARYVILLE, Mo. — Anybody who witnessed Megan Rosenbohm’s impact on the Nodaway-Holt basketball program in her four years of high school, isn’t surprised that the Graham native continued to have success at the next level.
Rosenbohm joined a Trojan program in 2010 that had lost 48-straight games, spanning over the previous three seasons. After the first game of Rosenbohm’s high school career, that streak became 49 games, but then it ended with Rosenbohm scoring 19 points in a 51-50 win over Fairfax in her second career game.
That jump-started what quickly went from the darkest time in Trojan basketball’s history into some of its best years. Rosenbohm’s squad won 17 games her freshman season, followed by 21 and 22 in the two years following. As a senior, she led the Trojans to an undefeated regular season and a district championship before falling to Mercer in the state tournament despite 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting from Rosenbohm.
She left the floor for the final time as a Trojan with nearly every record there was to have in the Nodaway-Holt record book with 2,509 points, 828 rebounds, 422 assists and 614 steals.
Rosenbohm then began her career at the college level at Southwest Baptist. Before her arrival, the Purple Bearcats hadn’t had a winning season in women’s basketball since 2007-2008, Rosenbohm ended her Southwest Baptist career in purple with three-straight winning seasons and finished as the school’s third-leading all-time scorer and all-time leader in steals.
While for most, that would be the final chapter of a storybook career — going from small-town legend to becoming one of the greatest players in the history of your college program and turning around both teams in the process.
“After the season at SBU, I kind of just thought I’d be done, like whatever, I had a good four years, but it is done,” Rosenbohm said. “People kept asking me though and my coach mentioned it and I had kind of been thinking about it for a while. Like a month or so after the season, I said, you know what, I think I’m going to try it. Why not?”
David Gabrovsek was on the Southwest Baptist men’s basketball team during Rosenbohm’s freshman season and he contacted her with an option to continue her career. Gabrovsek knew the coach for the Ledita, a team in Domžale, Slovenia, where Gabrosek was from.
“After a while, I was talking to one of my friends who played basketball at SBU, but he was from Slovenia,” Rosenbohm said. “We were just talking about basketball since we both graduated and said he knew a coach over there and he just put us in contact.”
Ledita’s season was winding down, but the team was willing to add Rosenbohm to showcase that her skills could translate to the professional game.
“It was the first time I’ve been to Europe. I just got on a plane and went by myself — one-way ticket,” Rosenbohm said. “People here thought I was crazy. A few people were asking my parents, ‘You are really letting her do that?’ And they were like, ‘Well, she is grown.’”
Rosenbohm was the all-time leader in free throws at SBU, but admitted that the professional game did take some getting used to with the physicality of the European game. However, Rosenbohm had made a similar transition when she began playing varsity basketball right away as a freshman and again when she jumped from Class 1 high school ball right into the MIAA.
“It was definitely more physical,” Rosenbohm said. “Moving screens like aren’t a thing over there so you can just nail people with screens. If you are trailing a screen, someone will just blast you and you just have to deal with it. … After I got used to it, then you figure out how to hit people back and it is fine.”
Just like at Nodaway-Holt and Southwest Baptist, her impact was immediate. In just six regular season games — five starts — for Ledita, Rosenbohm averaged 20.2 points per game. She only got more comfortable in the Slovenia Cup, where she averaged 29.5 points per game in four contests.
Rosenbohm knew going in that her team in Latvia was only going to be a temporary thing and when they wrapped up in early January, she’d need to find a new basketball home.
She found that 1,700 miles north on the coast of the Baltic Sea in Liepāja, Latvia. Rosenbohm joined the team for the final 16 games of the season.
She continued to excel in Latvia despite truly being on her own professionally for the first time. Whereas in Slovenia, she had Gabrovsek, who she knew and could help her adjust and show her the city — she was on her own in Latvia.
“Slovenia was a nice introduction because my friend lived there and he was in the same city and everything,” Rosenbohm said. “I kind of already had somebody that would show me around and explain things. I wasn’t like just tossed in by myself, but when I went to Latvia — it was just like, here is your apartment, you are on your own. It was pretty cool though.”
For Rosenbohm, one of the transitions was simply the language barrier. While her teammates and coaches could speak English to talk to her, they didn’t always use it when talking to each other.
“Here, you can hear what everyone is saying. Even if you are not in conversation, you know kind of what is going on,” Rosenbohm said. “They would only speak English if they were talking to me. It was just becoming ok with not knowing. I’d be playing and they’d be screaming at somebody in a different language and I’d be like; ‘Ok, I guess I’m going to keep playing. If they want me they’ll use English.’”
The biggest adjustment culturally was the food which was a little different than what she was used to, but her friends back home made sure she was well taken care of.
“The food in Slovenia was really good. I really liked the food there,” Rosenbohm said. “When I got to Latvia, it was different for sure. They had like borscht. That’s a traditional Russian soup and stuff like that. It tasted fine, but I got kind of tired of it. One of my friends mailed me macaroni. I was complaining about the food one day and she just mailed me this American food pack. It was awesome.”
The new food and environment didn’t slow her on the court, however, and she finished second on the team in points per game with 15.9 while also recording 8.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.4 steals per game.
Just like in high school and college, Rosenbohm’s contributions led to increased team success as well. The team finished as the runner-up in its stage of the Latvia Estonia Lithuania Basketball League and in the promotion-and-relegation system that they use — similar to what is used in European soccer — the team will be promoted to the top stage in the league.
“It was exciting,” Rosenbohm said on the experience and her willingness to keep playing for the team. “That is kind of attractive to me to be moving up a league.”
Which team she will be on next season is still undecided. While her Latvian team would welcome her back for another season, she is taking advantage of her ‘free agency’ and waiting to see what other opportunities emerge.
While Rosenbohm was certainly happy to be back in Missouri — admitting that the first thing she did when she returned was get a Chipotle burrito and some chocolate milk — she looks forward to returning to Europe next season and continuing her career.
“As much as I still love basketball, I am not ready to leave it yet.”