By Jacki Wood

An experienced, talented group of juniors and seniors, a hungry, talented group of freshmen and sophomores, and Head Coach Aaron Murphy has a South Nodaway girls team that could do big things this season.

“I’m excited to see how much we grow as the season moves along,” Murphy said, now in his sixth year with the Longhorns. “We have an extremely talented junior and senior group that will be accompanied with a very talented freshmen and sophomore group.

“If we grow and come together as a team throughout the whole season, we have the capability to be a very dangerous team.”

Last year’s team went 19-7 with a 1st place finish in the Northwest Invitational, 2nd in the PVI and 3rd in the Stanberry Tournament.

Murphy said top returners include senior guards Mallory McConkey, Meaghan McConkey and Sydney Harlan and junior forward Elizabeth Turpin.

Other returning letterwinners include Marissa Wiederholt, Ashton Henggeler and Dolores Holtman.

Incoming impact players include a trio of freshmen guards, Kaylin LaMaster, Hannah Wilmes and Jenna Smith.

“I believe we will continue to be an extremely hard-working team that wants to improve throughout the season,” Murphy said. “I believe we will continue to have exceptional leadership from the upperclassmen.”

He said the team’s toughest opponents will be Jefferson and Mound City.

“Our improvement from last year will take place on the defensive side,” he said. “The players and coaches mindset is a defense-first mentality. We must bring extreme energy and intensity every game on the defensive side.”

The Longhorns started the season with an overtime win against King City and then won the PVI Tournament.