The Rosemount Irish girls' basketball faced quite the learning curve this last season after losing several senior contributors from the year before. Overall, the team finished 8-19 including the playoffs, and were 7-11 in the South Suburban Conference, good for seventh.
"Well, we obviously lost a lot from the previous season, so we knew there would be a lot of new pieces to the puzzle and everything," head coach Chris Orr said. "There would be a lot of girls that (would have to develop), I think that's exactly what we had too, we just had a lot of learning going on the whole season. It was fun to see it start to kind of all come together, and we talked at the beginning of the season about playing our best basketball at the end of the year and I think we really were playing our best basketball. We might not have played our best game, that final game at Hastings, but we were playing our best basketball together collectively as a team."
The biggest difference from the beginning of the season to the end, according to Orr, was just how much the Irish adjusted to playing at the varsity level.
"Understanding the game of basketball at the varsity level, and understanding the preparation that goes on into it, the intensity, the competitiveness you need to have everyday. Not only in games, but in practice as well," Orr said. "The preparation part was really the big difference, that goes with the speed of it and all of that. There's an adjustment period that takes time, and we definitely went through it. But I was very happy with how the girls responded and developed through that process."
On the other hand, Rosemount did have areas over the course of the season that they struggled with and will need to continue to work on next season.
"Obviously, if anybody watched us, our turnovers plagued us at times," Orr said. "It wasn't just one thing, it was just bits and pieces of everything, it all magnifies each other. We need to be better at valuing the basketball collectively, it's not just one thing, not one person, not one position, everybody. And I think that will come with experience, getting better and understanding what it takes to win at the varsity level consistently."
Despite only losing two seniors from this year's team, Orr could not emphasize more the role they played on this year's team.
"Rose (Bauernfeind) and Becca (Francois), our two seniors, we're definitely going to miss a lot," he said. "We got a lot out of them this year. Their leadership was unbelievable and what they brought to our program and our team everyday as role models, not only on the court but off the court as well, we're definitely going to miss that."
Looking ahead to next year, Orr said he's excited with what next year could bring.
"Sometimes it's a good thing that you have a lot of people coming back and sometimes it can be a bad thing," Orr said. "This is definitely a good thing for us, that we're going to have a lot of experience returning. I really like what we have. Our girls are very motivated and driven to get back to that higher level, to win some more games and to be more consistent. I'm very excited about what we have coming back and what we have coming up, even in our youth program."
Rosemount returns its top-four scorers, including freshman Helen Staley who led the team with 12.1 points per game, sophomore Taylor Janssen with 10.1, fellow sophomore Larisa O'Neil at 9.1 and someone Orr praised as really improving over the year, eighth-grader Alexa Ratzlaff at 5.8, after playing a significant role in the later two-thirds of the season.