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Cardinals look to keep building team culture

With last season coming to an end after a loss to Westhope-Newburg in districts, the Nedrose Cardinals girls’ basketball team and head coach Matt Hanson are looking to take the daily improvement approach to make 2022-23 a memorable season.

“We have to come to practice every day with the intent to get at least 1% better. I believe that over the course of the previous years, we have been trying to implement that culture in our program and we are slowly understanding that process,” Hanson tells The Minot Daily News.

The Cardinals overall are a young group, but they have a mix of experienced players and players expected to step into bigger roles. Over the summer, they continued playing together with the goal of increasing their chemistry on and off the court.

“We ended up going to some team camps over the summer, along with being in a summer league and did well which helped with our chemistry. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but I like where we are at,” he said.

Returning players that are expected make an impact are the trio of Kaydee Boyce, Maecey McKibbin, and Ashley Roberts. These three provided a lot of scoring for the Cardinals last season, with the same expectation heading into this year.

Boycee, Hanson says, is the team’s “energizer bunny” who provides a spark with her ability to cut and slash to the basket, as well as finding open teammates. McKibbin brings a two-way impact with the ability to play hard-nosed defense and knock down shots from beyond the arc. Roberts bring the “heart over height” mentality to the court, according to Hanson, and is an efficient three-point shooter for the Cardinals.

Additionally, Lilly Nelson will take on a larger role for the Cardinals after stepping into a starting role in the middle of last season. Hanson is excited about the strides Nelson has made with her skill development heading into this year.

“Being able to finish around the rim and knock down some mid-range jumpers is what she [Nelson] is excelling at. She is a long/lanky athlete that moves pretty well and can be a tough match up at times for teams,” Hanson said regarding Nelson’s play.

On the court, Hanson believes the team’s strengths will be their aggressiveness and speed. “We aren’t the tallest squad in the region, but we have some athletes that will work their tails off by flying around the court,” he said.

The Cardinals will begin their season by hosting Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood on Dec. 2 with tip scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The Mavericks were the Region 6 Tournament winners last season, giving the Cardinals a big test to start the season.

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