ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY BRIAN HUXMAN
Leadership is defined as guiding a positive way, or leading toward a specific desired result.
The leadership of the Hillsboro High School girls? basketball team comes from a likely source this season: its four seniors.
Jacey Boese, Sara Janzen, Angela Kroeker and Heather Matz remain a humble but accomplished group.
Last season, the Trojans made the state tournament, upsetting one of the top teams in the state before finishing fourth.
That success is a direct result of dedication and teamwork.
Not only does the foursome work well together on the court, but they are also friends off the court, something Janzen said helps make the team better.
?I think it helps us to be friends because we kind of know how to react to each other in different ways,? Janzen said. ?Not even just with basketball, but with the whole team part of our season. It has helped our team.?
Along with leadership comes success, both on and off the court, and the group has handled that success in stride.
Kroeker was named All-MCAA last season after leading the team in scoring, but focuses less on her role as a scorer and more on her role as a positive influence on her teammates.
?I just try to stay positive on the court and help everyone stay focused,? Kroeker said. ?I think the more pressure (the seniors) can take off everyone else the better, so that is what I try to do out there.?
The four seniors have become such good on-court leaders and players, coach Becky Carlson says she feel like she has added to her coaching staff.
?They are good players and hard workers and they are so positive to each other and to the other players on the team,? Carlson said. ?They make coaching a lot easier for me by the way they lead the team.?
Boese said the seniors are leaders for the team because of their ability to include their teammates.
?I think it?s good to include everybody, and we try to do that as much as we can,? she said. ?We want to make it feel as much like a team as we can so that everyone feels included, and everyone does a good job of that.?
Matz said she thinks the seniors demonstrate their leadership on the court.
?The more playing experience you have, the more of a leader you become,? Matz said. ?Since there are a lot of young girls, I think we seniors should know what we are doing on the court and just try to not cause (Coach Carlson) any more stress.?
?I think we help make it so Coach Carlson doesn?t have to worry as much,? Kroeker said. ?We want to make things as successful as possible.
Carlson said their work ethic makes them a joy to coach and makes her job easier.
?You can?t even describe how fun it has been and how easy they make coaching,? Carlson said. ?It doesn?t matter how much I have asked them to run during practice. If I ask them to run one more drill, they are the first ones on the line ready to run, and I never hear anything but positives come out of their mouths. They are just a very good influence on this team.?
Boese, Janzen and Matz have been playing basketball together since they were little. Kroeker was a late addition to the group, moving to Hillsboro as a sophomore.
But she has fit in quite well.
?She makes our team better,? Janzen said of Kroeker. ?She?s awesome.?
Kroeker, who is averaging more than 20 points a game this season for the 4-1 Trojans, has one primary goal in mind.
?We definitely want to make it back to state this year,? Kroeker said . ?We think we probably have the talent to win state, but we want to work hard first in order to get there.?
Carlson said her seniors have given new meaning to the words hard work.
?We lead by example,? Boese said. ?It?s important that we do that.?
With the hard work and dedication being put into making Hillsboro?s program successful, all four seniors feel like their goal of making it back to state is attainable.
?We just want to get one step further this year,? Matz said. ?If we continue to work hard, we can make it to that state championship game.?
Added Carlson: ?The harder these girls work, the better this team gets. That is what is going to make us successful.?