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Maidens learn hard work pays off

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Last year the Maidens were one game away from competing at State. With their mantra “hard work pays off,” the ladies have their eyes locked on seeing their name on the state bracket this year.

Coming off a two-game loss in their tip-off tournament, the Maidens are working on conditioning to play their up-tempo style game.

“We just lost our legs a little bit,” Coach Ron Hanson said of his team in their first showing.

But the Maidens turned that around with two big wins last week, including a 75-27 victory as they hosted rival Mission Lady Bulldogs Friday night.

The key to the Maidens’ success is sharing the ball on offense, according to Hanson.

“They really like to set up their teammates,” he said, adding that 

the team also hustles on defense but needs to get their fouls under control.

“We do work hard on defense — sometimes to our detriment,” he said of the frequent fouling. “They need to learn when to lay off a little bit.”

With three returning starters, the team has core experience, but “we’re pretty young and inexperienced after that,” Hanson said.  

Lee Camel, a great outside shooter at the wing/post position, plays intelligent basketball, Hanson said. Both of Lee’s parents played basketball for the Griz, so she grew up immersed in the game. 

At 5-foot, 10-inches tall, junior post Alicia Camel brings height and hustle to the game, and the cousins “play a great game together,” Hanson said.

Micalann McCrea “is only a sophomore, but she’s super athletic and quick, especially with rebounding,” Hanson said.

Rounding out the top players is senior Jordyn Clairmont in the point guard position. 

“She really hustles and sets up plays,” Hanson said.

Hanson, a business and computer teacher at Ronan High, is in his first year as the Maidens’ head coach but has coached basketball for 16 years. After every game and every practice, he shouts: “Hard work …” and the team replies, “pays off.” 

After Christmas break, the Maidens’ hard work will be tested as they face two tough conference games against Loyola and Deer Lodge. Yet Hanson believes the team will be stronger as they practice throughout their vacation. With eyes on the postseason prize, the team will continue to work on their conditioning and playing smart defense.

“They really are a basketball-intelligent team,” Hanson said.

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