Lonning launches offensive attack Women’s Basketball – Central College Athletics
PELLA – The increased energy and intensity is evident on the practice field. First year coach Moran Luning It also counts on the performance level of its Central College women’s basketball team to rise.
It’s still a young team that Luning inherited from Joe Steenkamp, who made big strides as head coach for five seasons before taking over the men’s basketball program last spring. Steinkamp led the Dutchmen to their first American Rivers Conference semifinal in 2021 before inexperience and injuries led to a 6-15 campaign last year with a 4-11 conference mark.
But Central has two all-conference players among nine returning letterwinners, as well as some newcomers making a difference. Guard Kelsey Hurley (Salon, Scottsdale, Ariz., Mount Desert HS) A three-time all-conference honoree, named first-team in 2020-21 and second-team in 2019-20 and last season, while the center Alison Van Gorp (second, Pella, Pella Christian HS) Received second team honors last year. They were also Central’s top two offensive threats as the team returns seven of its top eight scorers. And despite a late start to recruiting, Luning landed three transfers that were expected to help.
However, as the Dutchmen head into the Nov. 8 season opener at Waldorf College, they face a steep learning curve. Not just for the students, but for the teacher as Luning begins his first year as a varsity head coach.
He said: Everything is new for the players and me this year.
second year Hannah dau (Paulina, South O’Brien HS) Started 19 games at point guard as a rookie and averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds.
“It’s really hard to start and play point guard as a freshman in this league, but it’s great that he has that experience now,” Luening said.
senior Wise Grieg (Albany, Ore.) He was a regular at that point as well and started 9 games. He averaged 2.7 points and 1.5 assists, but is a relentless defender and brings other attributes as well.
“Danae and Hannah both have good speed,” Luning said. “They have good handles. They want to make their teammates better and they coach. I think all those qualities are great for someone who wants to handle the ball a lot.”
“Danae, as a senior, is also a great leader. I think a lot of players really look up to that, so hopefully she can continue to lead on and off the court.”
Jessica Carters (Senior, Mackinaw, Ill., Deer Creek HS) Appeared in 15 games last year, but competes on Central’s triple team and therefore reports late. Esther Hughes (Freshman, Kalona, Hillcrest Academy)who is in the women’s football team.
A pair of freshmen, Jasmine Williams (Denver, Colo., Arvada West HS) And Jadyn Filling (Ankeny) Can help push the ball in Central’s quick attack.
“I love the bounce in their step,” Luening said. They both love to be around people and love to learn.
Sophomore NCAA Division II transfer Abby Johnson (Ankeny) And Samantha Scott (Davenport, North Scott HS) The center will be reinforced as an off guard but can also run the point if needed.
“I think they’ll either be great if they handle the ball a little bit or show up and shoot,” Luning said.
At 5-foot-11, Johnson brings more length to the guard floor, but he and Scott are expected to add some outside scoring as well.
“I think adding those two will help our team’s 3-point percentage,” Luening said. “I’ve known Sam and Abby probably since my freshman year in high school, so I feel really good about them. They know what they’re doing with me and I know what I expect from them. They’re both positive. “Both are competitive and I’m excited to have them on the court.”
The other two sophomore guards, if healthy, could help Central. Peyton Kizer (Zwingle, Dubuque Senior HS)5-9 last year appeared in 12 games but is battling injuries.
“He’s a great athlete that I think when he’s healthy, he can do really well in our press,” Luening said.
Callie Gibbs (Grinnell, Linville-Sully HS)in 5-8, was dropped last year.
“He worked hard this summer and was really hungry and really excited,” Luening said. He competes hard in training and wants to keep learning. He will have to be patient after a year off, but I think he is on the right track. He can shoot it.
Hurley, 5-11 like Johnson, averaged 13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a team-leading 33 points. Cassidy steel (Jr., New Sharon, North Mahaska HS), a lock-down all-court defender, averaged 7.4 points and 7.2 rebounds while leading Holland in assists (3.8) and steals (2.2). Hurley and Foulad recorded the most playing time in this team last year with an average of 32.3 and 31.2 minutes.
“I think Kelsey and Cassidy are the types of players that can do that,” Luening said. “They’re incredibly talented. They not only accept being under pressure, they want to be under pressure, they want to get better and they understand that hardship is good, fighting is good. They’ve stayed positive and still two are some of the hardest working. Workers, which is great because they are two of the leaders as well.”
Newcomers at forward include 5-9 freshmen Erin Dedrish (McLean, Ill., Olympia) and a pair of 5-9 freshmen from Shenandoah, Ava Gregg And Ellie Eveland.
At 6-3, Van Gorp is among Central’s only true post players, though Luening has several other options and will need them early on as Van Gorp recovers from a preseason injury. Van Gorp, Central’s second-leading scorer as a freshman, averaged 13.4 points and 9.1 rebounds, which ranked second in the conference. He shot 56.3 percent from the field and had 33 blocks. Luning wants to expand his role.
“Allison was all-conference last year and I’m excited to see what she can do now as a sophomore after learning the league a little more,” Luning said. “We’re hoping we can find other ways for him to score that’s more than just getting him back to the basket.”
A 5-10 year old, Annie Swatters (Deepwater, Mo., Lakeland HS) It dropped sharply last year. He averaged 5.7 points in 17 games while averaging just 10.8 minutes per game.
“He’s excited for his senior season,” Luening said. “I think he had a great summer and is very motivated. He has a great mid-range shot and I’m excited to find ways to get more and more from him.”
Second student, 5-10 years old, Kelly Weber (Sigourney)is another option that is the first 5-10 years in the post Billy Redding (Grundy Center).
Luning does not hide his team’s plan of attack.
“I want to press full court the whole game,” he said. “It’s not a secret.”
However, installing a new style is not seamless.
“Even if things are kind of ugly because we’re learning a new offense and defense, it’s good,” Luening said. “I’ve told them, I want things to be messy. I’m going to work on some of these things and fail in practice, so we know how to respond in one game, we know how to respond in practice the next day. We know how to get better.”
This is a style that requires the use of a deep bench.
“I think you have to,” Luning said. “As a player, if you’re in the game, you have to be willing to empty your tank because you know someone else is going to come in to take your break. I don’t want anyone to stop. I want you to do that. Do your best and trust that you have teammates who will do the same.
A two-time conference MVP for a championship team at Luther College as well as an assistant coach for title winners the past two seasons at Simpson College, Luening knows American rivers and what it takes to succeed. He sees the ingredients in the center.
“I’m really excited,” Luening said. “I didn’t recruit these players, so I didn’t get to see them play that much, just when I was scouting against them. But I think we have some really talented players that maybe just need to change their mindset. . A little more confidence or maybe just a few more reps.”
Luning said Steenkamp did a good job setting up the non-conference schedule the team needed to prepare for league play. The Dutchmen open the season Nov. 8 at Waldorf College.
But Luning will also enter the conference with open eyes. Two conference teams earned berths in the NCAA Tournament last year, and the talent is plentiful.
“There are a lot of players across the conference this year,” he said. “I think we have players that have a lot of conference experience. I think it’s going to be great for them to play in all the arenas and know the intensity they need and know the skill of playing everybody twice. I think it’s going to help them. “But I also think adding these newcomers, both transfers and newcomers, has given us a big boost, not only in terms of talent, but in terms of mentality and intensity.”
Luning has lofty goals for the Dutch program in the future, which he wants to build a foundation for, but right now he’s not looking for the next workout.
“I really try to preach being in the moment,” he said. “If we can set our minds in the moment, hopefully this foundation will start building itself without looking back.”
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