21-22 Marion girls hoops cmyk.jpg

The 2021-22 Marion County girls basketball team. Front row left to right: Karissa Kennedy, Madison Stewart, Delaney Straus, Olivia Wood, Riley Donath and Halle Keilholz. Back row: Head coach Reed Plunkett, Riley Holt, Samantha Kindhart, Grace Jensen, Tristen Holt, Shayleigh Whetstone, the team manager and assistant coach Ryan Wood.

PHILADELPHIA, Mo. — With the core of the team entering their senior season, there is a sense of urgency on the Marion County girls basketball team.

The Lady Mustangs are coming off of back-to-back appearances in the Class 1 District 11 championship game, but where unable to win either time.

Marion County is hoping to take the next step and bring home a district title for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

“The obvious goal is to win that (district championship) game,” said Marion County head coach Reed Plunkett. “I think that’s something we have to embrace and not shy away from. It’s talked about a lot in practice. They made a poster and put it up in the locker room.”

Marion County will have to go through some tough teams to reach that goal, such as North Shelby, La Plata and Atlanta.

The six seniors on this year’s team have been working on improving their games and staying focused at practice.

Plunkett and top assistant coach Ryan Wood have been working on making adjustments on both the offensive and defensive ends.

“For most of these girls, this is their fourth year with me,” Plunkett said. “So a lot of this stuff takes awhile to put in and they already know our different defenses and offenses that we’ve ran in the past. So it’s allowed Coach Wood and me to try some new stuff. Be able to come into games with a ton of options. I think our experience and overall basketball IQ is something we can capitalize on.”

Delaney Straus runs the floor as the team’s point guard and led Marion County in all non-shooting statistical categories last year.

“We rely on her to handle the ball,” Plunkett said. “On defense she leads in steals and is the leading rebounder. She pushes the tempo for us on offense.”

Halle Keilholz has been the team’s best outside shooter and led the Lady Mustangs with 76 three-pointes last season.

Olivia Wood has been the most consistent defender and Marion County is looking for her to take on more of a scoring role this year.

Rounding out the starting lineup is Riley Donath and Madison Stewart.

Players who will see time off the bench include Tristen Holt, Karissa Kennedy, Shayleigh Whetstone and Riley Holt.

“I think we will be a little bit deeper than before,” Plunkett said. “Couple that with our returning core that we have and we are really excited about this season.”

2021-22 Schedule

Nov. 23 — North Shelby

Nov. 30 — at Community

Dec. 2 — at Bevier

Dec. 14 — at Higbee

Dec. 16 — Madison

Dec. 20 — La Plata

Jan. 4 — at Brashear

Jan. 7 — Novinger

Jan. 10 — at Wellsville-Middletown

Jan. 11 — Macon County with Bucklin

Jan. 25 — at Atlanta

Jan. 28 — at Mark Twain

Jan. 31 — Scotland County

Feb. 1 — Paris

Feb. 5 — at Silex

Feb. 7-12 — Brashear Tournament

Feb. 15 — at Canton

Feb. 17 — South Shelby

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