AC-T struggled, but improved
The young Albert City Truesdale basketball team suffered through a 1-18 season, but that doesn't mean there weren't some positive things that happened this past season.
That's according to first-year AC-T coach Jason Groendyke.
"We had expected a better record before the season started," he said. "But we were hurt by being a very young team with not a lot of depth. And we just didn't have that big girl inside that other teams had.
"And our lack of depth hurt. We'd stay with most teams in the first half, but we were dead by the time the fourth quarter rolled around."
The Lady Hurricanes beat Graettinger late in November for their only win of the season, but Groendyke said he saw a lot of individual improvement from his players as well as his team."
That's especially true with his seniors, 5-foot-8 shooting forward Krista Peterson, and 5-3 point guard Alicia Erlandson.
Peterson averaged a team-high ten points per game this season, but was keyed on heavily all season long by opponents' defenses.
But Groendyke said she came a long way after not seeing much playing time her junior year.
Peterson put a nice cap on the season in the Lady Hurricane's tournament opener against Lauren's Marathon, scoring a season-high 19 points and 14 rebounds.
"Krista just had an outstanding game," said Groendyke. "She did most of her scoring throughout the year from the outside. She tried four three pointers this season and made all four. She said after the game that she knew this might be her last game and she wanted to lay it all on the line.
"And teams were keying on her all season because she was the best athlete on our team. Team's coaches thought if you could stop her, you could beat us pretty easily."
Peterson led the team in points this season with 197 and was the leading rebounder as well.
"Another thing Krista did, as well as our other senior, Alicia Erlandson, was provide an important leadership role for our younger players," the coach said.
Erlandson was the team's senior point guard and according to Groendyke, the "heart and soul of the team."
She was also an excellent three-point shooter, hitting 18 of the 22 three-pointers she attempted this season.
"We actually wanted both Krista and Alicia to shoot more three pointers," added Groendyke. "But they are very unselfish players so that wasn't really in their game."
The coach added that Erlandson, like Peterson, was a strong leader for the Lady Hurricanes. She averaged about eight points per game.
"And she also improved a lot during the season," he said. "At the beginning, she was pretty much a perimeter player, but by the end of the season, she was taking the ball to the basket well."
Groendyke also saw significant improvement from 5-8 sophomore forward Brooke Lovin.
"She was the most improved player on our team," added Groendyke. "At the beginning of the season, she had trouble dribbling the ball up the court through pressure defenses.
"But by the last few weeks, she had improved on that drastically, and that really improved our team. She really stepped it up for us this season and was equally effective from both the inside and outside."
Next season, Albert City-Truesdale will combine with Sioux Central for basketball. Even though Groendyke will probably go from being a head coach to an assistant for Sioux Central, he sees that as a positive step.
"The girls won't have to go through such a tough season next year," he said. "They will have a lot to offer to that program."