I'm a native of Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. It was there that I was inflicted with the curse of being a Minnesota Vikings fan. There is still no known cure, though many times I wish there was. I'm also an avid follower of the Minnesota Twins and of course, the Iowa State Cyclones.
High school hoops season is upon and I got my first look at the Ames High squads this week. Here are my first impressions:
--The boys squad looks like they have the ability to compete at a high level. The biggest thing they need right now is to play together as much as possible. I don’t know if the football team’s playoff run may have taken away from the basketball team’s practice opportunities, but I wouldn’t be surprised. This team will need time to mold but they have some nice pieces, from Sam Straub and his strength inside and point guard Sam Rathe providing veteran experience (looks like he’s sharpened his 3-point shot, too) to raw talents like Colby Shane, Kuol Chol and 6-6 beanpole Javan White. This is team I can see improving quite a bit during the season.
--The Little Cyclones girls look like they’re on the same page and have some talent to boot. They’ve already had a couple games where they’ve pulled away from opponents in the second half with their ability to score, which hasn’t always been a hallmark of coach Joel Sullivan’s teams. Ames boasts good shooters in Kiana Peterson and Molly Sanders, plus Jamie Steyer can score inside and outside. Bailee Jackson and Deja McAtee provide rebounding and youngsters Emily Frisk and Ryan Weiss are valuable role players. Should be a fun run for the ladies.