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Published February 19 2012

Hawley's plan charts course for hopeful postseason girls basketball run

Hawley, Minn. - All of this is part of the plan.

The plan is a series of instructions, beliefs and goals the Hawley girls basketball team has had all season.

It has helped Hawley (18-3) emerge as one of the best teams in the area. But the plan’s ultimate objective is to reach the Minnesota state tournament in March.

Following the plan includes making sacrifices.

School wasn’t in session last Friday, but the Nuggets were still at the gym practicing.

“I may have friends who are at home who have other hobbies,” said Nuggets point guard Jessy Noreen. “But basketball is our hobby. It is what we love doing.”

Playing a role is also a part of the plan.

Noreen says her role is to be a facilitator and set up her teammates with the best shot possible.

Senior guard Laure Olson said as a captain, her goal is to lead on the floor and away from it.

“You make sure people know what is going on and you talk to them during the game,” Olson said. “But it is also about talking to them in school too. You want to know if they’re having a good day, and if they’re not, what can you do to make it better.”

Olson said Hawley’s eight seniors have been playing together since third grade, making them a tight group.

But she said part of being a leader meant incorporating the team’s younger players into the circle.

The man behind all of this is longtime coach Bill Gottenborg.

Gottenborg, at the start of every season, gives his players binders filled with scouting reports.

There are also blank sheets of paper, and he requires his players to write down a thought of the day, which usually is something basketball-related.

The thoughts during the Friday practice came back to what the Nuggets did wrong in a four-point loss to Pelican Rapids last Thursday.

“Everybody on the team is important,” Gottenborg said. “Not everybody can be the scorer, rebounder or the jumper, but if they can each do their niche, it makes the team stronger.”

Gottenborg lived up to his words when he showed up to the practice Friday.

Gottenborg, who is also a teacher, had to spend his day at a teacher’s workshop.

So when the workshop took an hour off for lunch, Gottenborg was in the gym to help run practice.

Senior forward Roni Neumann said the team’s results plus Gottenborg’s actions make it easy to follow the plan.

“The plan is just to get better every day in practice and interpret that into the games,” Neumann said. “The plan is to just play hard.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com