Marauders replacing key starters

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When practice tipped off last October, it was as though Mt. Vernon coach Julie Shelton was teaching a 300-level class. But after losing four contributing seniors who led the Marauders to the Class 3A state title game, Shelton is back to teaching Basketball 101.

“Going back to square one is hard when you’re competitive and you want to win every possession,” Shelton said, “and now you’ve got young kids looking at you like, What’s going on here?”

So it’s back to basics, and in Shelton’s classroom that means defense, first and foremost. But Shelton has homework of her own: Balancing expectations and patience.

“I need to do a better job of being patient, and I’m working on that,” Shelton said, “but I also want them to know what’s expected so we can win eventually.”

In losing Jessica Brown, Anna Olson, Kelsie Owens and Makenzi Reasor, the Marauders lost scoring, playmaking, defense, rebounding, toughness, experience and an incredible amount of heart. But you won’t hear anybody at MV—coach or player—use the word “rebuilding.”

“A lot of people don’t have very high expectations of us, but I think the girls that are here now have just as much talent,” said Rachel Houck, one of two returning starters. “I think we’re capable of doing what we did last year.”

A 5-6 senior guard, Houck averaged 10.8 points per game last year. Her biggest weapon: the 3-pointer. She hit 55 of them, connecting on 45 percent of her attempts. But that was with Brown, an Indiana All-Star, at the point. This year, Houck will be asked to handle the ball more.

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