Wolves open season against Western Iowa rival
The IKM-Manning girls basketball team struggled during their 2022 campaign, finishing with a 7-16 record, making a first round exit against the East Sac County Raiders in the Class 2A – Region 8 game. But with some new faces on the roster, and a new assistant coach, the Wolves are ready to get back to work.
“This will be a fun group to work with,” said Wolves Head Coach Gene Rasmussen. “We’re really trying to emphasize defense and taking care of the ball.”
Longtime assistant coach Joy Gross will be taking on a new role this season, so former IKM-Manning student and current head volleyball coach McKaylie Croghan will be stepping in as the new assistant coach under Rasmussen.
“I am really excited to get things started this season; a new year, a new challenge, and excited to see what this team can accomplish,” Rasmussen said. “It's going to be different not having Coach Gross coaching by my side. We had been together for 20-some years. We were a really good team and she did a great job of helping the program become as successful as it is. She will now be coaching the junior high girls team. I am excited to have Coach Croghan. She played for me back in 2008-09, and she was a huge part of that team's success helping it win a State Championship. She will do a great job.”
The Wolves will begin their season on the road against a familiar opponent in the Underwood Eagles, who finished their season 19-5, making it to the Regional Final game losing 50-45 to the Pocahontas Area Indians. They were led by Alizabeth Jacobsen with 313 points and 250 rebounds, and Aliyah Humphrey with 96 assists.
“First opponent is a tough WIC team, they will have decent size, and come off a good season last year,” Rasmussen said. “We will have to be really good defenders, and rebounding will be important.”
The Wolves wrapped up their season with a 7-16 record. Some of the wins the Wolves accumulated came against Riverside, AHSTW, Missouri Valley, Audubon, and others. They were led by Seniors Mabel Langel with 260 points, Morgan Hanson with 173 points, and Junior Abby Neilheisel with 154 points. Langel led in rebounds with 136, Hanson with 129, and Freshman Anna Stangl with 95. In assists, Hanson had 59, Stangl with 50, and Langel with 28.
Langel, Hanson, Emmie Ring, and Kaitlyn Spoelstra have all graduated. Rasmussen will look to others to fill their spots.
“Abby Neiheisel is a starter back from last year as well as Anna Stangl,” he said. “Some other girls with playing time last year Taylor Beckendorf and Emma Reginato are new to us this year it will be fun to see her step in, Ali McGinn, McKenna Benton, and Laynie Gawley, and I could see some others step up as well.”
With a long season ahead and some tough opponents beyond Underwood, Rasmussen knows the challenging teams ahead.
“WIC will be very tough with Tryenor, AHSTW, Tri-Center, Underwood, and Riverside. Non-conference, Panorama, Exira-EHK, AC/GC, MVAOCOU, and Coon Rapids-Bayard, are just to name a few. We play a tough schedule.”