The South Nodaway Longhorns girls basketball team have been making a name for themselves over the past few years with a solid core of athletes that helped build the program. Names like Mallory and Meaghan McConkey, Sydney Harlan, Marissa Wiederholt and Ashton Henggeler were many of those that helped the team to a 23-4 season tying for first in the conference at 12-1.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns those players won’t be returning due to graduation, but senior leaders Elizabeth Turpin and Savannah Bennett also have had enough experience on the court to help South Nodaway as they forge their way into a rebuilding year.
“We are a young team when it comes to overall experience,” said coach Aaron Murphy of his team. “Our ceiling is extremely high for this and I think we can surprise opponents.”
He added that the key for the team this year is the work ethic brought to practice and how it will allow the team to improve all season long.
Turpin is a four-year starter who Murphy said expects a lot of herself as well as her teammates. He said Bennett, too, is a go-getter that gives 100 percent in everything and expects the same from those around her. Combined he hopes they can be the leaders the team needs this season.
Murphy enters his seventh year with the team and will be assisted by sixth year coach Allie Helzer.
Other impact players from last season include Hannah Wilmes, Kaylin LaMaster, Dolores Holtman, Alex Buckles and Eryn Kemper. They will be looked to as key components of achieving the team goals.
“Our main goal as a team is to bring the energy and tenacity it takes to be an aggressive defensive team,” Murphy said. “We want our opponents to know when they play us they are going to have to earn all they get.”
Murphy knows that because of the players they have lost a lot of teams will want to look past them, but he said they could pay if they do.
“We are a motivated group and we are going to play with a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “I am excited for the season to start. I feel like we have a team that has the work ethic and ability to grow and improve as the season goes on.”
South Nodaway will get put to the test Nov. 21 as they open the season hosting King City. They turn around and take part in the Platte Valley Invitational the following week where they will see many regional talents.