O-R-R short on numbers, loaded with experience
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor
The Oldham-Ramona-Rutland Lady Raiders might be short on numbers but they will be a very experienced squad this season.|
Top returnees for the Lady Raiders include seniors BreeAna Olson and Taylor Stratton and juniors Macy Hagemann and Haley Hopf, all back in Coach Sara Holmberg's lineup this year.
Olson, Stratton, Hagemann, Hopf and Joie Spier are returning letterwinners for O-R-R.
"Our speed is still a major strength this season," said Holmberg. "We now also have a number of girls with a lot of experience playing at the varsity level."
Holmberg is a believer that with the experience comes team chemistry and confidence in each other.
"These girls have been playing together now for a number of years and are very good at reading each other on the floor," she said.
Holmberg's main concern is the number of players on her team.
"As with most small schools, the number of players becomes a factor. We have also had a small bench, but it just pushes the girls to work harder in practice," she said.
O-R-R has only eight girls out for the varsity team: two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, one freshman and one eighth-grader. There will be other young players called upon to play on the junior varsity team.
Holmberg knows that the Lady Raiders must minimize turnovers and take care of the ball as efficiently as possible to have success this season.
The Lady Raiders lost two key players due to graduation last year: Carly Carper and Kelly Thurow. O-R-R finished the 2011-12 season with an outstanding 17-5 overall record.
Holmberg tabs DeSmet and Deubrook as the teams to beat in the Dakota Valley Conference this year.
"They have a strong returning class with a number of experienced and talented athletes," she said.
Chad Trigg will the be junior varsity coach and Megan Powell will serve as the junior high coach.
O-R-R will open the season on Tuesday when the Lady Raiders host Canistota. The game will be played at Rutland with tipoff set for 6:30 p.m.
The remainder of the schedule is as follows:
Dec. 6 at Arlington, 6:30; Dec. 8 Freeman Academy at Ramona (TBA); Dec. 13 at Elkton, 6:15 p.m.; Dec. 15 DeSmet at Flandreau, 4:30; Dec. 28 Florence-Henry at Brookings 10:30 a.m.; Dec. 29 at Marshall Classic (TBA); Jan. 7 at Chester, 6:30; Jan. 10 at Estelline, 6:00; Jan. 14, 17, 19 DVC Tournament; Jan. 25 at Lake Preston 6:30; Jan. 26 Tri-Valley Tourney at Alcester (TBA); Feb. 1 Deubrook Area at Oldham, 6:30; Feb. 2 Cornbelt Classic at Freeman (TBA); Feb. 5 at Flandreau Indian School, 6:15; Feb. 8 Dell Rapids St. Mary at Rutland, 6:30; Feb. 12 Colman-Egan at Rutland, 6:30.