Rebels aim to move up in league
By Scott A. Kolb
HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL
Winning some games in the Three Rivers Conference is the first order of business for new Southland girls basketball coach Dave Decker.
Last year, the Southland Rebels went 4-20 overall and 0-16 in the Three Rivers. Decker was the B-squad coach for the Rebels last season and also spent eight years coaching at the junior high level for Southland, so he knows what it takes to motivate the girls on the court.
The Rebels have five letterwinners returning from last season. Seniors Donna Neuvirth and Maggie May are back for their final season on the hardwood. Junior Ashley Holdgrafer, along with sophomores Chelsey Smith and Hilary Johnson, also saw action last season.
"The girls are really working hard in practice and we’re looking for some conference wins this season," Decker said. "We hope to work our way up to the middle of the pack in a very tough conference."
Holdgrafer will be the main player in the low post for the Rebels. She averaged six points and seven rebounds per game last season. Johnson will also play on the inside for the Rebels.
Southland isn’t real big across the front line, but there will be a lot of quickness on the floor. Neuvirth was a consistent contributor last season with five points and five rebounds per game. She also averaged a couple of steals with her quick hands in the backcourt.
"We have good overall team quickness and will rely a lot on our defense," Decker said. "We need to improve our offensive output this season. The girls have been working a lot on their shooting in practice. They’re also determined to cut down on turnovers by taking care of the basketball."
The new coach knows winning games in the rugged Three Rivers won’t be an easy task with the likes of Kingsland, one of the state’s ranked powers in Class AA, on the schedule. Decker also rates top contenders in the conference as Caledonia, Dover-Eyota, and Rushford-Peterson.
"Our team has a very good attitude and the girls want to make a difference — they want to improve," Decker said of his team’s prospects.
Southland opens the season on Tuesday night at Caledonia.
SOUTHLAND GIRLS BASKETBALL
Seniors — Maggie May (guard), Donna Neuvirth (guard). Juniors — Ashley Holdgrafer (center), Kacey Kilgore (guard), Lynda Rossow (center), Ashlee Waller (guard). Sophomores — Hilary Johnson (forward), Chelsey Smith (forward), Megan Mullenbach (forward), Amber O’Connell (center), Danielle Irvin (guard), Brooke Hanson (guard).
Nov. 28 — at Caledonia, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 — Rebel Invitational, 6 p.m.
Dec. 1 — Rebel Invitational, 6 p.m.
Dec. 5 — at Kingsland, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 — Fillmore Central, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 19 — Chatfield, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 — Mabel-Canton, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 22 — at Wabasha-Kellogg, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 27 — at Montgomery-Lonsdale Tourney, 1 p.m.
Dec. 28 — at Montgomery-Lonsdale Tourney, 1 p.m.
Jan. 4 — Lyle/Pacelli, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 — Dover-Eyota, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9 — Rushford-Peterson, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11 — Grand Meadow, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 — at Lewiston-Altura, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 — Plainview-Elgin-Millville, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 — at St. Charles, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 19 — at Schaeffer Academy (Rochester), 6:15 p.m.
Jan. 26 — Goodhue, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 30 — Caledonia, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2 — at Rushford-Peterson, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9 — Kingsland, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 13 — at Fillmore Central, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 — at Chatfield, 7:30 p.m.