Girls return 4 starters, 7 seniors

These seniors and returning all-league players will bring experience and leadership to the Marion girls? basketball team this season: front row (from left) Bailey Robson, Kirsten Hansen, Erika Hess, McKenzee Remmers; (back row) Kristen Herzet, Kourtney Hansen, Elizabeth Meyer, Marshelle Mermis.

Look for an experienced Marion girls? basketball team to take the court this season. The Warrior roster boasts seven seniors, four of whom are returning starters from last year?s 6-15 season.

Fourth-year coach Kelly Robson said that experience will carry the team and make the Warriors competitive this season.

Returning players

The first of four returning senior starters is Kirsten Hansen, a 5-foot, 4-inch guard who averaged 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals a year ago.

?Kirsten?s been starting for a couple years,? Robson said. ?Last year, she was coming back from that knee injury. I could tell she just wasn?t the same player she was as a sophomore. She did fine, but she just didn?t have the same speed. She had a nice season. She?s a good floor leader. She?s a very good ball-handler and will do fine.?

Erika Hess (5-7) returns at guard. She averaged 5.5 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals last year.

Bailey Robson (5-7) also returns at guard, having averaged 5.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals a season ago.

?Bailey and Erika have come along well as outside shooters,? Robson said. ?They?ve been getting better at their ball-handling, too.?

Marion?s fourth returning starter is Marshelle Mermis (5-8) at forward. She average 2 points and 3.6 rebounds last year. Mermis enters the season after undergoing knee surgery.

?We want to make sure she?s good and strong before we try to put her back out there,? Robson said. ?She wants to get back tomorrow, of course, but it just isn?t ready to go yet. When she is ready to go, she?s a strong inside player.?

Returning sophomore Kourtney Hansen (5-8) is expected to join the starting lineup at forward in place of graduated senior Julia Hall. An honorable mention all-league selection a year ago, Hansen averaged 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds last season.

?She?s such a good passer,? Robson said. ?She makes us better just by being able to pass the ball well. Erika Hess returns this season after averaging 5.5 points per game for the Warriors last season.She scores the ball well inside. She gives us a good floor sense.

?Obviously, she was our statistical leader in several areas last year, even as a freshman coming off the bench, so I?m excited to see her. She?s a year older, a year stronger, and she had a good, strong volleyball season. She?s just a real solid player.?

Three additional senior returners may fill increased roles this season: McKenzee Remmers (5-5) at guard, and Elizabeth Meyer (5-11) and Kristen Herzet (5-7) at forward.

Season outlook

Robson said the War?riors will need to make up for lack of height with defensive intensity and experience in order to be competitive this season.

He said the teams to watch at the top of the Heart of America league include Remington and Berean Academy.

For Robson, success this season will be measured by more than wins and losses.

?Success for us will be about enjoying the season together,? he said. ?I would love to tell you we?re going to win 11, 12 games, but I don?t know that I can tell you that. We?re going to try to compete every night. Maybe this year we?re in every ball game and we don?t ever get to that running clock.

?Success for us is for those seven seniors to feel they?ve been productive,? he added. ?Maybe each one of them can improve their stats a little bit from the year before, and then as a team, I think all that other stuff will fall into place.?

Marion will begin the season by hosting Southeast of Saline Friday.

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