PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Rebels look to improve in 2017 with returning experience

Independent file photo MCC’s Rachel Van Iperen surveys the floor during their Dec. 2016 game against Minneota.

SLAYTON – The Murray County Central girls basketball team will play their home opener tonight against the Canby Lancers. The Rebels opened the season on the road last night against Windom Area.

MCC will look to improve upon the 2016-2017 season when they finished with a 5-16 record. The Rebels will have plenty of experience returning this season with four starters back and a number of key bench players returning.

The 2018 season will mark Patrick Freeman’s third season as head coach for the Rebels. Freeman expects the strength of this year’s team to be their play on the defensive side of the court.

“Our strength in the past has been our defense,” Freeman said. “We have a set foundation of what we expect our defense to do the past few years. We expect that to continue this year.”

On the other side of the court Freeman hopes to see improved play on offense. Freeman said that he had a number of players spend the offseason focused on improving their offensive games and he’s hoping that hard work will translate to more offensive output.

“A concern for us has been the issue of scoring and the amount of turnovers,” Freeman said. “We have had some girls put some time in this summer to improve their offensive game. Hopefully we will see that hard work pay off.”

The Rebels have four seniors on the roster. Freeman said that Riley Schmitz, Rachel Van Iperen, Tori Wieneke and Martina ThunderHawk have done a great job of leading.

“Our senior leadership has been really solid so far,” Freeman said. “Riley Schmitz, Rachel Van Iperen and Tori Wieneke have all been elected captains and each of them have their own leadership style.”

Aside from the four seniors the Rebels have two juniors and seven sophomores on the roster. Freeman said that a pair of sophomores have really stood out in practice.

“I have also been happy with the progress of sophomores, Brianna Schmitz and Shelby Christensen,” Freeman said. “I expect them to make big contributions for us this season.”

The Rebels would love to improve upon last year’s 5-16 record. In order to do that the Rebels will have to stay focused on improving at every practice.

“This season will be a success If we continue to improve throughout the season as basketball players, as leaders and as student athletes,” Freeman said. “This game teaches so much and we are just looking forward to embracing the process every single day.”