By Bruce Karnick
It may only be June 13, but exciting news is coming from the Hastings Raiders girls basketball team. Head Coach Sheri McLeod invited The Journal to the first day of summer workouts for Raider sports. The football team was also there working hard alongside both basketball teams in the high school fieldhouse.
A dozen players showed up for the first day of summer workouts for girls basketball, something they are not accustomed to, explained Coach McLeod.
“I don't know if they've ever done gym workouts. So, I don't know I don't have anything to compare it to for the first year,” she said.
McLeod had a different vibe about her from last year. She was more relaxed, more excited and clearly happy to back with her girls from last year. With a year under her belt, she is rejuvenated with an even more positive mindset than her rookie season at the helm and ready to incorporate some of the feedback she received from the players last year.
So why the exclusive interview with The Hastings Journal? One word: Breakdown.
Breakdown Sports USA is a fullservice high school sports company that has covered basketball since 2001. They create publications and host events to showcase teams and players to watch. Their events are inviteonly for teams and players.
Hastings will have played one game at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning as part of the Breakdown Sports Shot Clock Classic. The game was set for Anoka Ramsey Community College where they have three full courts with shot clocks.
The MSHSL has approved shot clocks to help improve the speed and action of the game starting with the 202324 season. Schools that have the clocks now can use them if they choose to. This is a great training opportunity for the Raiders to get more experience with the added shot clock.
This is also a great opportunity for the Raider players to showcase their improvements the last year brought under Coach McLeod. Three Raider girls were also individually invited as “players to watch”: Keagan McVicker, Emma Baker and Haley Strain, so they will have a player profile in an upcoming publication.
“I'm super excited that the program got some recognition, that we have three players that are actually going to be showcased and highlighted in the book. I've already had three to four coaches reach out to me about our players. I'm super excited about where this program is going,” added McLeod.
If last year’s improvements in the regular season are an indicator of the affect a coach can have on a team, then Hastings is in good hands for the future. After winning only five games in 202021, they tripled that under Coach McLeod in 202122, and there is a buzz among the girls that are returning for this upcoming season.