The Ogilvie Lions girls basketball team made significant improvements during the 2018-19 season. This year’s younger, highly motivated team will strive to “Leave No Doubt” about their commitment.
Last year the Lions finished with a 12-14 record, fifth place in the Great River Conference and seventh in Section 5A South. They beat Isle in the first round of postseason playoffs, but later fell to Swanville.
Head coach Jonathan Nelson had this to say about the 2019-20 season:
Q: What’s different for this season’s team, compared to last season?
A: Last year we featured two prolific scorers in Lilly Lee and Maizy Burk who will be extremely difficult to replace, along with Emma Vogel who was also a three-year starter. This year’s team features more of a team aspect with a number of players who could each have big games. So it’ll be hard for other teams to focus defensively on only one or two players.
We’re still young in terms of age, but our youth have quite a bit of experience and are ready to step up into varsity roles. We’ll be dramatically better on the defensive end which will allow us to play a more pressure-type defense, which is what I envisioned when I took over the program four years ago. And we’ll also have more quality depth than we’ve had in my tenure at Ogilvie.
Q: What challenges do you expect the team to face this year?
A: This team will face growing pains due to our youth and inexperience in game situations. But they pick up on things very quickly, so I feel the learning curve won’t be as drastic as in years past. Our biggest challenge will be rebounding on both ends of the floor, so we’ve focused a lot on being sound with our technique.
Q: How does the coaching staff prepare for a new season?
A: Each season presents a new challenge. While we have our core values and philosophies on defense and offense, we still make adjustments based on personnel. Sometimes coaches can get stuck in a system, but our staff does a good job of fitting our system and style around the strengths of our athletes. We take a “one size does not fit all” approach, and I feel it’s been a very successful philosophy for us.
Q: What makes a player a good team captain?
A: A captain is someone who is consistent both on and off the floor. While vocal leadership is good, the captain follows through with the expectations of the coaching staff and doesn’t expect others to do more than they would expect of themselves. A captain is one that does not embarrass teammates in public, but rather pulls a player to the side and addresses concerns in private. The captain must also be a solid representation of our school, and our core values within the confines of our team.
Q: How do you think participation in athletics affects students beyond the basketball court?
A: There’s a difference between our purpose and our objective. Our objective is to win games, to put all the girls’ work into action and to be successful on the court. However, our purpose is to train them to conduct themselves with dignity and honor in the real world. Basketball teaches valuable real-life lessons they can carry throughout entire lives, and that’s why I coach and teach these young people.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the upcoming season?
A: Our team motto this year is “Leave No Doubt,” while we maintain our core philosophy of “Next Play.” The idea is to “Leave No Doubt” on the court about whether they gave it their all, and also to “Leave No Doubt” in the classroom and how they live their lives.
The Lions opened the season on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Mora.