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Warriors get first live action of the year

WARRIOR BASKETBALL: LAKE MILLS AT RRMR, 7:30 P.M., ROCKFORD SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

Warriors get first live action of the year

Experience, chemistry to lead RRMR in 2015-16

Metal weights clank together in the Rockford Senior High School weight room, a night before the Warriors’ first live game action of the season. The weight room fills up with chatter and laughter. The easy-going group of 20 girls won’t begin their actual season until Nov. 30 when they head to Clarksville for the first game of the season. But tonight, RRMR will host Lake Mills in an Iowa Hall of Pride scrimmage; a live practice session is what head coach Blake Hansen calls it. Althought it’s just a “glorified practice,” that hasn’t put any damper or hault in the construction of team chemistry this season.

“They come to practice with what I want to call ‘goofy intensity,’” Hansen said.

“They’re always upbeat and know what’s required. They go hard.”

The Warriors are coming off back-to-back 17-win seasons. In a community as small as the one that surrounds RRMR, there’s bound to be outside expecations.

There’s a buzz around town that has people excited for this winter season.

“This group of girls is just like the last two years’ worth of girls. They don’t let outside stuff get to them,” Hansen said. “We don’t talk a lot about expectations. We have our three goals: Have a winning record, make it to state and to win the conference title.

So we’re focused on being the best we can be with what we’ve got.”

This year’s group is riddled with experience, and at a relatively young level.

Nine juniors on this year’s team have been playing together since fourth-grade.

Hansen said he hopes to use the team’s strong bond as a significant advantage.

“We like to create chaos, in any way we can,” Hansen said. “We look to keep teams out of their comfort zones. It’s hard for us to play defense when we let them walk it up the court and set up a halfcourt offense on us.”

Hansen said when it comes to his team on offense, he gives his leaders almost full range of what they want to call.

This isn’t the norm in high school basketball.

Normally, Hansen said, coaches like to draw up every play and know how things are supposed to work. But with the Warriors, it’s all in the hands of the players.

“We have one goal, every play. And that’s to score,” Hansen said. “And sometimes, I’ll get a question like, ‘Should I have done that?’ And I’ll say, ‘Did we score? Yes? Well, it worked.”

With the faith of team chemistry and strong leadership and experience, Hansen believes his team will be back in Des Moines and fighting for the Top of Iowa Conference title at the end of the year.

“We have our three goals: Have a winning record, make it to state and to win the conference title. So, we’re focused on being the best we can be with what we’ve got.”

By Stephen Koenigsfeld sports@charlescitypress.com

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