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Cowboys eager to begin season with Viveros at the helm

Press File Photo Killdeer senior forward Morgan LeMieux, back, goes up for a basket against Hazen junior Kendra Slaubaugh during last year’s Region 7 Tournament semifinal game on March 2 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

With a new coach comes the initial nerves of new schemes, new philosophies and a new team.

But for the Killdeer girls basketball team, both the girls and first-year head coach Ashlee Viveros are in it together and are helping each other get acclimated.

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With the team still practicing, Viveros’ only expectations for the Cowboys are to just settle in and play the best they can.

“Right now our biggest short term goal is just getting comfortable with the new program,” Viveros said. “Because although it is the same coaching staff, there’s some different expectations. But our offense is a brand new offense to me, it’s something I never ran before, brand new to them and just trying to get comfortable with something that’s completely out of all our element. But my biggest expectation is just to play with the best of their ability.”

Last season, Viveros was the C squad coach and her first year of teaching at Killdeer. Before arriving in Killdeer, she was the head coach at Heart River. With having some familiarity with the team, she knows which returners can make an impact this season and improve on last season’s 9-9 finish.

The Cowboys return four starters in senior 6-foot forward Morgan LeMieux and senior guard Ashley Brew and junior guards Alison Scheetz and Jessica Starr. LeMieux was all-District 14 and all-Region 7 after averaging 14.4 points per game, while Brew was all-District 14.

“They’re both seniors, outstanding leaders, outstanding people,” Viveros said.

Cowboy introduces newcomers juniors Jane Dukart, Jurnee Murray, Keauna Fox and eighth grader Sydnee Andersen to the team this year. The team has three seniors, six juniors, three sophomore and an eighth grader. So far, Viveros sees a lot of team chemistry among the players which she said “is one of the most important aspects of being a good team.”

Besides chemistry, the biggest aspect which makes Killdeer competitive is the team’s overall athleticism and speed on the court.

“We have a lot of cross country, track athletes and also at times works to our advantage, but sometimes we need to slow down just a little bit,” Viveros said. There’s a fine line between being really really fast and being out of control.”

Disciplining the Cowboys’ speed goes hand in hand with the new offensive scheme Viveros is trying to implement this season. The team is trying to incorporate an offense targeted at becoming a smart basketball team and react to a number of situations. Defensively, the goal is to become a high-pressure team and use their long, athletic bodies to cause their opponents to commit turnovers.

The Cowboys open their season hosting Stanley at 7 p.m. Friday. Despite the short amount of preseason time, Viveros and her team are excited to get on the court and start competing.

“We are so excited to take the court, but … there is so much to get in such a short, nine, 10 practices,” Viveros said. “So we’re trying to fit it all in. Practices are going a little bit longer than maybe we would like them to be, but we are all really excited to just finally get out there and see what we’re made of this season.”

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.