—by Todd Thorson

The 2013-14 "Hustle and Heart, Set Us Apart" season ended for the Roland-Story girls’ basketball team recently. The Norse finished with an 11-12 overall record and a fifth place finish in the Heart of Iowa Conference (10-8). Nevada won the conference race with a mark of 17-1, followed by North Polk (16-2), PCM (13-5) and Gilbert (11-7). Coming in behind the Norsemen were Saydel (9-9), Greene County (8-10), CMB (4-14), Colfax-Mingo (1-17) and South Hamilton (1-17).

Following the season the all-conference selections were announced, as well as other awards and team accolades.

Leading the way was Team MVP Natalie Vance. Natalie, a senior, was recognized as a unanimous HOIAC first team selection. She was also named to the Class 3A All-State Academic First Team (see sidebar story). Natalie was also placed on the first team of the Class 3A Region 5 District, the 3A Southwest Region first team and the Class 3A All-Star Team.

Vance ranked second in the conference with a 17.8 scoring average/game, trailing only Miranda Murphy of North Polk (19.2 points/game). Natalie also shot the ball more than anyone in the conference, putting up 359 attempts and hitting 136. She was 88 for 119 at the free throw line, good for 74 percent. Natalie scored a total of 409 points, third highest in the HOIAC behind only Miranda (460) and Megan (416) Murphy of North Polk.

Receiving Heart of Iowa Conference honorable mention recognition for Roland-Story were Brooke Staker and Taylor Olson.

Joining Vance on the All-HOIAC first team were: Miranda and Megan Murphy, North Polk; Courtney Van Houweling, PCM; Kayla Mobley, Greene County; Kati Cassabaum and Jessica Helton, Nevada; and Abbie Haupert, CMB.

The second team All-HOIAC consisted of Hillary Mosiman, Gilbert; Rachel Freland and Abbi Gilson, PCM; Cassie Chubb, Saydel; Megan Pringnitz and Alli Fey, Nevada; Lexi Breon, CMB; and Savannah Stangeland, South Hamilton.

Also receiving honorable mention honors, along with the Norsemen’s Staker and Olson, were: Hannah Onken and Jolee Wessling, Greene County; Emma Lodestein and Claire Ausman, Nevada; Katie Reed and Paige Hoiberg, Gilbert; Kaitlin Fisher and Carly Swenson, South Hamilton; Macy Gill and Rachel Zimmerman, North Polk; Brooklyn Allgood and Emma Bowman, Saydel; Mackenzie Schmitz and Bridget Hurley, CMB; Lexi Kain and Rachel Gulling, PCM; and McKenzie Cogley and Jenna Teed, Colfax-Mingo.

At the recent Norse basketball banquet team awards and recognitions were announced by Coach Justin Morton and his coaching staff, Jason Donohue and Greg Polaski. Other team awards, in addition to Natalie Vance being named MVP, were the Leadership Award, given to Alexa Whipple; the Team Player Award to Traci Marienau, the Norsemen Award to Lexi Crutchfield and the "Blood, Sweat and Tears" Award to Taylor Olson.

This year’s letter winners included: Seniors - Traci Marineau, Brooke Staker and Natalie Vance; Juniors - Bridget Concannon, Lexi Crutchfield, Brittany Hammes, Alyssa Miller, Taylor Olson and Kirsten Waline; Sophomore - Alexa Whipple; Freshman - Samantha Janvrin; and Managers - Molly Fink, Schyler Polaski and Kelsey Polaski.

Some of the team accomplishments this season and how they rank in the all-time Roland-Story girls’ basketball record book include: Most made free throws/game - 2nd, 24 (first game, PCM); Made three pointers/game - 2nd, 11 (second game, CMB); Made three pointers/season - 3rd, 116; Attempted three pointers/season - 3rd, 376; Fewest turnovers/season - Total, 2nd, 342; Average, 2nd, 14.9.

Natalie Vance also compiled some impressive R-S historical statistics in her four years of varsity action. They include: Individual Game Records - tied for 1st in points, 34; 6th in points, 31; 1st in free throws made, 16; Individual Season Records (this season as well as past season) - 1st in three pointers attempted, 179; 1st in field goals attempted, 359; 2nd in points/game, 17.8; 3rd in three pointers attempted, 150; tied for 3rd in free throws made, 88; 4th in free throw percentage, 81.8; 4th in three pointers made, 54; 5th in points, 409; 5th in three pointers made, 51; Individual Career Records - 2nd in three pointers made, 174; tied for 1st in three pointers attempted, 544; and 4th in scoring, 959.