Rockland High School
Conference: 1AD2 Rocky Mountain Conference
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Vern Nelson
Years as Head Coach: 21st Season
Previous Experience: 2 Years JV Girls at Rockland
Record Last Year: 17-8
Kariena Turnbeaugh, G, 12
Brook Freeman, W, 12
Jesica Robinson, G, 11
Sarah Wood, W, 11
Riley Jensen, P, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Brook Freeman, First Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Stefani McClanahan, PG, averaged 14.7 PPG and was the engine that drove the team last year. Three year starter who was a 1,000 point scorer for her high school career. She is playing for Colorado Northwestern Junior College.
Aspen O'Brien, P, led the team with 9 RPG and was third leading scorer, along with being a force defensively in the key area.
Incoming impact players:
A group of sophomores and freshmen who are talented with good potential to develop into some very good players as they progress through their high school playing career. Rockland will look to several of them to step up and help the core of returning varsity players that the team has.
Written by: Sven Alskog
The Rockland Lady Bulldogs have been a fixture at the state tournament over the past few seasons, only missing the field once since 2013.
Much of that success can be largely credited to players who graduated following last season, including scoring machine Stefani McClanahan, who averaged close to 15 points per game, and leading rebounder Aspen O'Brien.
What the departures mean for the current group of Bulldogs is an increased role for talent that has been in the fold for a few years in Rockland, but is now expected to take over leadership roles and to see an increase in productivity.
It gets started with First Team All-Conference returner Brook Freeman.
"Brook is a very good shooter who can spot up and hit a shot from as far out as 3-point range," said Nelson. "She is also a good rebounder and has good basketball savvy. Brook is athletic and very good at running the floor in transition."
Backcourt players Jesica Robinson and Kariena Turnbeaugh are tasked with getting things firing on all cylinders offensively for a team that likes to run to find easy baskets following turnovers.
Expect a team-wide effort to replace McClanahan's scoring punch.
"We will not have a go-to player like we have had over the past six years, so the scoring will be spread through a number of our players this year, which will give us more scoring balance and less ability for the opposing team to focus on one individual player," said Nelson.
Everything gets started on the defensive end of the floor for a Rockland team that loves to get out in the open floor, especially with the athletic guards at the disposal of Nelson this year.
"Kariena Turnbeaugh and Jesica Robinson are very quick and athletic guards who will lead our defense and work on the front of both our full court defense and half court defense. They are very good at disrupting the other teams defense with forced turnovers, deflections and steals. Both are lock down type players in man-to-man defense."
Another player who should see an increased role with the potential to put up plenty of points is junior Sarah Wood.
"A good spot-up shooter who can hit the open 3-point shot and can also drive to the basket," said Nelson. "She along with Freeman gives us two good outside shooters who will have to be guarded, which will help to spread out the offense."
He is excited about the combination of veteran returners and youthful newcomers.
"I'm most excited about the mix of veteran and younger players and the potential the team has this season."
With newcomer Butte County entering the conference this year, Rockland will need a couple of the underclassmen to step up and provide varsity production. If that happens the Bulldogs will once again be a threat for the top of the conference this season.