SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Third ranked O’Gorman will host top-ranked Sioux Falls Washington on Thursday, January 14 in the KELOLAND.com Game of the Day.
Sioux Falls Washington is coming off back to back losses to undefeated teams including a five point loss to class ‘A’ number one St. Thomas More and an eight point loss to #2 Harrisburg. Despite suffering two losses within three days of each other, coach Parish knows this team is close to finding their way.
“This is a really unique group of kids and I’m never going to coach another team that has two girls that can jump up and touch the rim. That’s crazy as a girls basketball coach,” S.F. Washington head coach Jamie Parish said. “We just need to find our way. Our upside is real high, but that’s okay.”
This year’s strength for coach Parish and the Warriors is their depth as they rotate in at least eight players per game.
“We have a really deep team. We have kids on our bench, I think that would probably start for some other teams in the state and we really like the talent level that we have and that’s our starting group and our first three to four kids off the bench,” Parish said.
While Washington is preparing to play a tough O’Gorman team on Thursday, the Warriors are keeping their focus on themselves.
“We’re looking at scouting report stuff and we are trying to pick apart teams a little bit, but we’re more worried about the Warriors,” Parish said. “We really need to focus on what we want to do defensively, who we want to pass the ball to offensively and we need to get better at our stuff, before we worry a whole heck of a lot about the other teams stuff right now.”
O’Gorman has two three game winning streaks this year, but they are separated by a narrow loss to Brandon Valley, in which the Knights were able to walk away with a lesson learned.
“After the game, we just talked about that we are going to get everybody’s best shot. Brandon Valley played pretty well and we tip our hat to them, but you can learn from a loss. I mean, nobody wants to lose, but if you can draw something from it or learn something from it and get better moving forward, then that’s what we try to do. We’ve had a couple of really good practices after that,” O’Gorman girls basketball coach Kent Kolsrud said.
The Knights offense will feature two talented players in senior guard Isabelle Moore and junior forward Hannah Ronsiek.
“Both of those two kids have gotten off to great starts for us and are great leaders and they certainly draw a lot of attention. They’re doing these things while still taking everybody’s best shot and drawing attention. I’m very proud of them and I need them to continue to do good things moving forward,” Kolsrud said.
“And then offensively, they’ve got the two outstanding kids. Izzy Moore, I’m assuming she has shot probably a hundred fast break lay-ups already this season. She gets out in transition and (Hannah) Ronsiek is a great player too. She can shoot it and she can drive it. She can do a lot of things,” Parish said.
Similar to the Knights, Washington owns a pair of talented players, including 6’5″ Sydni Schetnan and 6’2″ Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda.
“We don’t have a 6’5″ girl that we can throw in at practice at that position, like most teams don’t, and Ndjakalenga (Mwenentanda) is really good too,” Kolsrud said. “They’re both really good players and anytime you go against top players, I don’t think you can shut them down, but you just need to make them work for their points.”
Facing the height of the Warriors will be a challenge for coach Kolsrud and the Knights, which makes the battle of the boards even more important.
“The number one key is rebounding. We can’t give a team with that ability and that caliber, second and third opportunities and we need to find a way to get second and third opportunities and get out in transition. We need to try and find some ways to get easy baskets. If that’s getting to the free-throw line, if that’s scoring in transition or getting offensive rebounds,” Kolsrud said.
The Knights and Warriors will cross paths on Thursday in Sioux Falls. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and you can watch the game on KELOLAND.com.