by Jared Hines
Contributing Sports Writer
Coach Amundson’s first three opponents as head coach of the Rogers girls’ basketball team would have given Geno Auriemma trouble.
After facing Elk River in the River Battle, just three days into his coaching tenure, the Royals faced Minnetonka and Champlin Park over the holiday break. Amundson has only gotten a couple practices with his team because of the long break, forcing him to try plays and concepts on the fly in games. In the Royals lost to Champlin Park, 11 Royals played in the first half alone.
“Coach Amundson has had faith in our team since day one,” Royals senior guard Haylee Fingalsen said. “We aren’t afraid to make mistakes because he always has good constructive criticism to get us back on track.”
The Royals took a small step back on the right path on Jan. 3, defeating Monticello 74-60 in front of the home crowd at Rogers High School. Fingalsen hit three 3-point baskets and Autumn Yelich and Megan Secrist each added a 3-point basket as well. At the end of the first half, the Royals led 42-25, with much credit to their defense.
“I think both Claire (Swan) and Allison (Dahlgren) have played really well these past few games,” Fingalsen said about her teammates. “They both play such great one on one defense. They create chaos that eventually leads to turnovers and easy buckets for our team.”
Monticello cut the lead to ten in the second half but Fingalsen and Co. were too much for the young Magic team. The Magic team only has one senior in Brooke Bechtold and only five juniors to accompany her. The rest of the roster is sophomores and freshman, including Anna Olson who led all scorers with 20 points. For the Royals, Secrist had 15 points on the night, while Fingalsen was right behind her with 14. Dahlgren also ended in double figures with 11.
“We just have to work on helping the helper on defense,” Fingalsen said about things the team could still do to improve throughout the season. “Also, we have to get comfortable with our new offense Coach Amundson has given us. I know we are really close to being unstoppable as a team.”
Rogers moved to 3-9 on the season but 1-0 in the Mississippi 8 conference along with St. Francis, St. Michael-Albertville and North Branch who also won their opening conference games. Next up for Rogers is Buffalo on Jan. 6 at Rogers High School. Buffalo is 4-5 on the year. The game is set to start at 7:15 p.m.