A five win season and a quick exit in district’s first round of the Class 3A Substate 8 doesn’t really translate to a successful season.
But for a team that have lost of number of quality starters the past three seasons, this year’s squad showed that success isn’t always measured in wins.
“There is more to basketball than just a game,” head coach Denny McDonnell said. “Sports are a metaphor for life. I consistently preached perseverance, teamwork and being resilient.”
After opening up this season’s campaign with a 58-47 win over the North Polk Comets, the year looked bright for a Bluejays’ squad who boasted a roster of 12 seniors.
That would not be the case as the team went on to post a five consecutive losses and a lone win in eight games.
The Bluejays seemed to be changing the tide in the second half when they finished the first half of the year with a win against the Greene County Rams and added another in their first game back from winter break with a 74-59 win against the Ballard Bombers.
However, a dozen games later the team would add just one more win to 11 losses including a 68-56 season ending loss to the Harlan Cyclones.
Filling a two year void left by his older brother Shammond Ivory was senior Rashon Ivory who this season stepped out of his brother’s shoes and into his own.
Rashon led the team in points per game at 19.8, 3-pointers made at 28, free throws made at 98, and points scored at 395. He also was first in assists with 69 and steals with 40.
Fellow senior and veteran player Connor Nielsen led the squad in rebounds with 115 -82 defensive, 33 offensive- 41 blocks and finished second in points points per game at 12.9.
Other contributors like senior Drew Levan finished off his season third on the team in points per game at 11.8 and second in rebounds with 82.
For his efforts this season, Rashon was named to the RRC first team all conference team.
Fellow senior and veteran player Connor Nielsen led the squad in rebounds with 115 -82 defensive, 33 offensive- 41 blocks and finished second in points pp/g at 12.9. Nielsen earned the RRC- All-Conference Honorable mention along with teammate, senior Drew Levan.
Drew Levan finished off his season third on the team in pp/g at 11.8 and second in rebounds with 82.
Nielsen and three other Bluejays, Jacob Huffman, Aaron Lockwood, Luke Rathje made the RRC Academic All-Conference list of sophomore to seniors letter winners who maintained a 3.25-4.00 G.P.A.
“They are great kids that each have an opportunity to achieve much in life,” McDonnell said of his whole team.
As a team- from a 21 game sample size- the squad shot 49.6 percent from the floor, 28.5 percent from 3s, and 68.3 percent from the line.
They averaged 58 points per game, with 240 assists, 128 steals, 48 blocks and 503 rebounds - 349 defensive and 154 offensive.