Experience for high school athletics is like gold. Playing the game makes it easier to understand. As coaches like to say, it “slows down.”
Marion High School girls’ basketball has a treasure trove of experience. Seven seniors headline the roster, complemented by sophomore Kourtney Hansen, who received an all-league honorable mention in her freshman season.
Head coach Kelly Robson knows the experience is valuable, but he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“We won six games last year, so it’s not experience with a state championship, but it is experience nonetheless,” he said.
He knows his seniors will want to make the most out of this season after playing together for so long.
“It’s always an excitement, but it’s a sad thing too: ‘This is our last go-round,’ and all that,” he said.
Over the years as their coach, Robson has forged a bond with his senior class.
“We’ve had a lot of fun,” he said. “I love working with the girls. They’re really positive about things and working hard to get better.”
Robson said the team attended its third summer camp since he took over as coach, this year going to Gunnison, Colorado, with 10 girls.
Leading the senior class is Kirsten Hansen, who will be in her third year as a starter. A knee injury hampered her into last season, Robson said, but she looks to be at full strength.
“It just wasn’t the same speed she had as a sophomore,” Robson said of her junior campaign. “She’s back to being faster and a little bit more in-line to what I’m expecting from her, so she’ll be good.”
Bailey Robson, Erika Hess, and Marshelle Mermis also are returning starters, though Mermis is recovering from what Robson called minor knee surgery. Rounding out the senior class are Kristen Herzet, McKenzee Remmers, and Elizabeth Meyer, whom Robson said will be valuable members of the rotation.
Robson had praise for the other five sophomores who make up most of the junior-varsity roster, even though he said they won’t likely receive much varsity playing time.
“They’re really contributing in practice and helping us progress on,” he said.
As for his varsity roster, he said he hopes they will be a good shooting and defensive team.
“In practice we shoot the ball well, and hopefully that can carry over,” he said. “A strength can be our defense, and a little bit of our quickness, too. I’m not gonna say we’re the fastest team ever, but we’ve got some quickness out there.”
The team lost one senior, Julia Hall, to graduation last year. Hall was one of the tallest players on the team. Robson said her contributions will be missed, but he hopes his roster can make up the difference.
“We’re not going to be super tall, but I hope we’ll scrap around,” he said. “You don’t have to be tall to get rebounds.”