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MTZ girls basketball finishes season in sectional semifinal

By BLAKE FAITH
Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion girls basketball team ended its season with a 69-31 loss to Lincoln in the IHSA 3A Sectional Semifinal in Rochester last week.

Denver Anderson and Jocelyn Turner each scored 10 points for the Braves. Turner added six rebounds and Anderson added six rebounds and three assists to her stat-line.

“I told them all after the game that I was proud of them,” Head coach Steve Marvel said. “Kalliana and Bracie are two four year players who are leaving a legacy of hard work and leadership. They are the only two Lady Braves players to win multiple regionals in the past 20 years. Outstanding representatives of the program. Let Alex Smith and Kennedy Highley know that they were critical to our successes after not playing for several years and I was glad they were part of our basketball family.

Thanked Ally Root for her years of being a manager and for playing this year. Let them all know I’m always there for them to support or help. Told Kalli I was so proud of her growth as a player and a person.”

Coach Marvel described this season as “hugely successful and a lot of fun.” For Coach Marvel, this is one of his most enjoyable and memorable seasons as a coach and the team accomplished all of their preseason goals and laid the foundation for the standards of success for the future.

The Braves ended the season with an overall record of 23-9, a third-place finish in the Apollo Conference with a 7-4 record and a regional championship. The Braves graduate Barnes, Becker, Highley, Smith and Root. The Braves retain starters Denver Anderson, Turner, Maddie Kendall and Naomi Schmahl along with reserves Ava Anderson, Ella Fink, Miya Means and Addison Rotz.

“Expectations for next year will be to meet and exceed our successes from this season,” Coach Marvel said. “We expect to win 20+ games despite playing a tougher schedule. We will set a goal to compete for a conference championship. We expect to be in a Regional championship game again and to hopefully advance at least one game further than this year. It all depends on staying healthy and continued improvements by individuals, but I truly believe we will be even better as a team next season.

Minimum expectations for our program moving forward even after next season are 18+ wins, top-three conference finish, holiday tournament championship game, Regional championship game.”

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