116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON — 'Erhhhhh' was the sound of the fourth quarter buzzer, marking the end of the Mount Vernon junior varsity girls' basketball team's undefeated season.
In the last game of the season, the Mustangs faced their biggest rival, the Solon Lady Spartans. Mount Vernon had a perfect season coming into the game and pressure was on to finish strong. The Mustangs won, 63-38, accomplishing their goal of an undefeated season.
This year's team finished 21-0, adding to an amazing three-year record of 62-1.
The JV girls basketball team is coached by Lance Pedersen, who also is the head football coach for Mount Vernon. Pedersen motivates all players by promoting positive thinking and mind-set.
'Motivation is not different for boys and girls, they can be motivated in the same ways,' said Pederson, who has five main objectives he emphasizes to the girls before every game — rebounding, defense, hustle, bunnies (easy baskets) and to value the basketball.
Pedersen attributes the success of this year's team to working hard, being aggressive, team chemistry and the players being coachable.
'Being very aggressive at this level, you can do a lot of good things, and when I tell my players to do something they try it and make corrections,' Pedersen said.
Most of the JV players are juniors and sophomores who have been playing together for many years through school and club teams. The top scorers for the team were juniors Bailey Hauser and Noelle Ossenkop, who, with classmates Katheryn Opperman, Kyli Orr, McKenzie Hartl, have created a strong friendship and solid team.
'We have been playing together for so many years, which has made us capable to grow with each other and become such great friends,' Opperman said.
The JV team's success has helped the whole program be successful. All three teams practice together, pushing each other to get better at every level.
'The success has been throughout the whole high school program,' Pedersen said. 'Kids caring about kids and players working hard, coaches working with all players. It's not just about one team but rather about the whole program.'