BRITT | The West Hancock girls basketball team, currently ranked No. 6 in Class 1A, have a mix of veterans and young talent they hope will take them far.
The Eagles finished 19-4 last season.
Senior Kelly Leerar said their goal for this season is to win the North Iowa Conference championship that eluded them in 2016-17.
"We have a lot of experience," she said.
West Hancock has two other seniors, Sydney Hudspeth and Sydney Burgardt. They all serve as team captains.
However, nearly all the other players are freshmen and sophomores.
Some of them haven't played much but "they are learning quickly," Leerar said.
"We have younger girls who know the game really well," Hudspeth said.
Still, "we have to work on playing together better on offense and defense," Leerar said.
Leerar said the seniors want to be good role models for the younger players on the team and for girls in elementary and middle school who want to play varsity basketball when they are older.
Hudspeth said she wants the seniors to be good role models off the court as well.
Coach Paul Sonius said the Eagles have a legitimate shot of making it to the state tournament this season, but in the meantime they want to improve with each game.
He said some players who were on the bench last season have to play more now, and this puts pressure on them.
The team's greatest strength is ball handling, according to Sonius.
"I don't see anyone pressing us," he said.
Although the players shoot well in practice, they haven't been as consistent in games, according to Sonius.
The girls also need to improve their rebounding, he said.
However, the team has enough veteran players to lead the way, he added.
The Eagles have big games coming up with Class 3A teams North Fayette Valley (Dec. 8) and Forest City (Dec. 16).
"If we get ourselves through those, we are putting ourselves in a very good position," Sonius said.