MARION — Last year it was #Igotyou and this year it’s PHD — passionate, hungry and driven.
That is the theme this year for Marion girls’ basketball team.
Every year, head coach Corby Laube chooses a theme to resemble the season. This year, the girls are passionate about basketball, hungry for another championship and driven to get there.
In early November, the girls walked into the gym for practice, the first time since winning the state championship last season, winning conference and also going undefeated. Even though most of the girls have probably been in the gym multiple times since on their own — shooting hoops, conditioning or just running drills — it was the first time being there as a team.
“It is definitely good to get back in and I am excited for this season, we have a lot of big goals and I am just excited to make them into a reality,” junior Leah Van-Weelden said.
Sophomore Riley Wright is a player to watch this year. She is very excited to be back in the gym with her team.
“I think this year as a team we just need to work on staying out of foul trouble because we lost a lot of good seniors and our numbers are a little bit lower this year,” Wright said.
So far, so good for the Indians. They are 11-0 heading into Friday’s home game against Mount Vernon and have won 37 in a row.
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Wright said she needs to work on communication with her teammates on and off the court. What keeps her motivated, however, is the book Coach Laube is having the girls read this season. Learning about having a positive attitude and working your hardest through the perspective of a book is very inspiring to Wright.
“If we work as hard as we did last year and as a team, we will have a very good chance of having the same outcome of last year,” she said. “We, as a team, also hope to have a lot of supporters coming out to the games this season.”
Laube said it’s always challenging coming back and starting a new season, but the players and coaches all have high goals and are not worried about losing seniors like Mia Laube, Chloe Rice and Caitlyn Smith.
“Coming back from winning state, I don’t feel pressure and maybe that’s not normal,” he said. “I don’t know, but I know my girls love to play and compete and I know they are going to go out there and do what they do.”
When asked if he’s worried or nervous about this season, Laube refers back to this year’s theme — PHD.
“The girls are hungry for more, and that is what is going to keep them driven because they are all very passionate about basketball,” Laube said.
The main challenge, he said, is going to be pushing the returning players to do more, like taking leadership roles by saying something or leading by example. The returners will have to add to what they did last year and Laube is confident they’ll do that.