January 24, 2018 07:26 PM
(ABC 6 News) – Entering the 2017-2018 girls basketball season, the Mayo Spartans were dealt a tough hand—but the Spartans are winning a lot of games lately, and senior sharp-shooter Hallie Olson is leading the way.
When asking the Spartans about Olson, leadership is one of the first topics which comes to mind.
“She’s the anchor,” head coach Rich Decker said. “There’s no question. Her dad (Tom Olson) is the principal of the high school, and that puts you in a tough spot right away, but she’s handled that very well. They have a great family, they’re very supportive, and she’s a bright kid who I’m going to miss a lot (next year).”
Olson has been a member of the Spartans’ varsity team since 8th grade—and those previous experiences have helped her in her final season on the hardwood.
“It’s hard to play up and it’s scary,” Olson said. “I’ve always had that one person that’s been there for me and I want to be that one person there for them. When (the young players) don’t get it at first, it’s fun to teach them how to finally learn what they’re doing, and they have all learned how to do stuff really fast.”
“She’s a solid guard with good smarts and a good attitude,” Decker added. “She’s willing to share the ball, and can shoot it.”
After losing guards like Siennah Stamness, current RCTC Yellowjacket Grace Riley, and current South Dakota Coyote Olivia Korngable to graduation last year, Olson’s ability to shoot the basketball a year later has been significant.
“I just keep my eye on the basket,” Olson said. “I had a lot of arch at the beginning of the year and I started to cut it down, and that makes me be able to shoot out a lot further. I just shoot and try to aim right through the hoop.”
Olson, who was a stand-out volleyball player during the fall season at Mayo, made it a point last summer to work hard on her three-point shooting.
“Normally, it’s a couple 100 per day during the summer,” Olson recalled. “Actually, during the summer, I shot about a thousand one day.”
Earlier this season, Olson said she “struggled” connecting on her three-point attempts—but something changed.
“A big part of this is confidence,” Decker noted. “She’s developed that a lot more now down the stretch and it’s really helpful.”
Olson’s confidence is back, and despite losing juniors Mary Laudon and Foney Marcellino to season-ending injuries before the season, as of Wednesday, the Spartans are on a six-game winning streak, and they have found their rhythm on the floor.
“It’s finally starting to click again, which I’m really happy with,” Olson said. “And our team is finally clicking too.”
Olson and the Spartans will look for their 7th-straight win on Thursday at Faribault.
Updated: January 24, 2018 07:26 PM
Created: January 24, 2018 05:02 PM
Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company