There's a new coach and the Iowa State Player of the Year is gone, yet the goals have remained the same for the South Tama girls basketball program.
The Trojans still aim to win the North Iowa Cedar League West Division and earn a berth in the state tournament. Those goals haven't waivered from the program that first-year varsity coach Marsha Keahna took over this season.
"I asked all of my seniors before the season about what they wanted to see happen," Keahna said. "The majority said they wanted to win conference and I think we can do that again with the talent that we have. We also want to make an appearance at state. Winning conference is our team goal."
South Tama won the NICL West last year in its first year in a new conference. Then they fell one win short from earning a state tournament berth. The Trojans lost to Ballard in the Class 3A regional contest on a last-second shot.
It was the final game for Madison Baier, the 6-foot-4 player who was named to the first-team all-state teams last year. She also finished her career as the STC leader in career points in the modern version of basketball. Baier was one of six seniors on the roster.
Now, Keahna has taken over the program from former head coach Nate Roberts. She began her stint as head coach on Nov. 5 when the Trojans officially began practice. It's been a busy two weeks for the new coach.
"It's a transition," Keahna said. "It's a lot more administrative than what I'm used to doing and that's the part that I'm trying to get used to. Now, I have to report to the media and report stats for each game. I'm also the head of the freshmen girls team right now, too, because Mr. Hall is out with some family issues. We have the freshmen coming with us. It's all of that little stuff you have to take care of when you're the head coach. It's not just overseeing the varsity team."
She has inherited a team with several pieces remaining from last year's roster, including a handful of seniors, who saw significant minutes as juniors. Those include Shelby Bradley, Jade Rohach, Kaleigh Sieck and Megan Wanatee, who are expected to start for the Trojans.
"They've stepped up to their roles already," Keahna said. "They should be our leaders this season. I think they will do a good job."
The Trojans will also play a number of sophomores and juniors. They include Paige Van Dyk, Regina Balderas, Trisha Walz, Hailee Weiss, Emily Martin, Samantha Holtz, Erin Clayton and Samantha Magpie. Walz, Van Dyk and Magpie finished the season on the varsity roster last year.
"They're an athletic bunch," Keahna said. "We're an athletic team. They've played together long enough that they read each other well. So it's a matter of fine tuning things and conditioning. It's a different type of conditioning than volleyball.
"I'm hoping we're a scrappy team," she added. "I'm hoping we get a lot of transition baskets. We hope to feed our quick guards and get them out in the open court."
South Tama will officially begin its season next Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Grinnell. The game will start at 6:15 p.m.
"It will be a true test for us, because they're always tough," Keahna said. "It will be a good one for us to get our feet wet and see what we need to work on as a team."