January 30, 2019 06:42 PM
(ABC 6 News) – The Grand Meadow Superlarks’ girls’ basketball team is having a season for the ages, and if they keep up their current pace, they’ll make some serious history on the hardwood.
“They’ve really helped change the culture of athletics here in Grand Meadow,” Superlarks head coach Ryan Queensland said. “They work hard in the offseason, they work harder when the gym is empty rather than when the gym is full.”
“We’ve all been waiting for this for so long,” senior guard Skylar Cotten said. “We just love playing with each other.”
In Grand Meadow, the Superlarks are an unselfish group of players and a group which has helped the program increase their win total each of the previous three seasons.
“It’s not about how many points you get, it’s if you’re doing your role for the team,” Queensland said. “It’s not how many minutes you get, it’s what you’re doing with those minutes, and that’s what’s making us successful.”
Saying the Superlarks have been successful is an understatement—as of Wednesday, Grand Meadow is riding a perfect 18-0 record.
“They’re playing together. In basketball especially, when you can get the five (players) on the floor and playing with one heartbeat and get the bench energized and engaged, it just creates a cool team atmosphere and a lot of energy,” Queensland said. “This team has really jelled that way. From our senior leadership to our juniors, to our sophomore and to our bench, they’re all locked-in together.”
Despite the perfect record, the Superlarks have said that staying perfect has been “a challenge,” but it helps that they have a serious amount of depth.
Grand Meadow has five captains—guards Cotten, Masie Voigt, and Isabelle Olson, and forwards Jordyn Glynn and Riley Queensland.
Voigt, a senior, makes her mark as a “tenacious defender” and the morale-booster of the group.
“(Masie) just has fun energy,” Olson said. “She keeps us all happy and positive. She’s a very good leader on and off the court. That’s great to bring to the team.”
Cotten, another senior, is a scorer (averaging 12.9 points per game; team-best 75.5% on free throws) and a sneaky defender (team-best 62 steals)—which contributes to her nickname, “Ninja.”
“Skylar could be hitting threes, so you just want to chuck the ball out to her, and (Coach Queensland) came up with the name ‘Ninja’,” Olson said. “She’s very quick and she knows the game.”
Olson, a junior, is third on the team in steals (41), she leads the team in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.58-1).
“She’s very quick and she has a lot of speed,” Voigt said. “We count on her for a lot of steals.”
Queensland, another junior captain, is Ryan Queensland’s daughter, and a dynamic player—Riley Queensland leads the team in scoring (17.6 points per game), three-point field goal percentage (35.7%), and she’s second on the team in field goal percentage (56.2%).
Even better for Grand Meadow, Riley isn’t afraid to get in the paint—and the father-daughter relationship is as strong as ever as well.
“Riley is our attacker,” Glynn said. “She’s very strong and powerful. When she’s going to the basket, you know she’s going hard, going to finish and get an ‘and-1,’ and get to the line. If you want her to attack, give the ball to her.”
“As a dad, it’s so cool and awesome (to coach her). I’m fortunate she puts up with me,” Ryan Queensland said. “We leave the whistle in the gym and don’t take it home. When I’m at home, I ‘m a dad, when I’m in the gym, I’m a coach. As a dad, I’m very lucky and blessed to have that extra time.”
Lastly, Glynn, a senior captain, is the straw that stirs the drink in Grand Meadow. Glynn is second on the team in scoring (15.7 points per game), three-point shooting percentage (34.8%), and steals (56), and she’s the Superlarks’ top rebounder (140).
“She’s such a good leader and she can do pretty much anything,” Riley Queensland said. “She can shoot from the outside, a great defender, she’s just an overall great player.”
The five Grand Meadow captains said this dream season they’re stuck in the middle of is something which they could forecast from long ago.
“I don’t think the ride was just from this year, it started in fourth and fifth grade,” Voigt said. “We had so much fun as young kids. We meshed well together, and we still talk about that today.”
“Ever since we were little, we knew that this would be our year to shine and show what we really have,” Glynn added.
Having a good corps of talent and leadership is always a recipe for success in any sport—but having an entire group buy into the same philosophy has taken the Superlarks to a new level.
“The strength of the team is each member, and the strength of the member is the team. We’ve been preaching that and talking about that every day in practice,” Ryan Queensland said.
“It’s bringing us all together,” Glynn added. “This year has been a key factor for us.”
“We all just need to know that we have each other’s backs and we come together as a team,” Cotten said. “It has helped us come closer.”
Under Ryan Queensland’s watch, Grand Meadow has improved from an 18-10 season in 2015-2016 to 20-8 in 2016-2017, and 24-6 in 2017-2018.
At their current pace, the Superlarks will increase their win total from 2017-2018, and they hope to get to the MSHSL state tournament later this winter for the first time in school history—but the Superlarks understand that getting to the Class A state tournament is a marathon, not a sprint.
“There are a lot of good teams in our section,” Olson said. “We just have to do what we can to get through that and make our dream come true.”
The Superlarks will seek a 19-0 record on Thursday at Le Roy-Ostrander.
Updated: January 30, 2019 06:42 PM
Created: January 29, 2019 10:11 PM
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