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Ortmeier’s long-awaited debut with Triton women finally comes this week

Messenger file photo Isabell West is Iowa Central’s top returning player this season.

Ahead of his first game as head coach of the Iowa Central women this week, Brian Ortmeier is more anxious than nervous.

Ortmeier, who replaced Kelly Kruger following his retirement, leads the Tritons against defending ICCAC champion North Iowa Area inside Hodges Fieldhouse Wednesday night.

Iowa Central went 17-14 a year ago and finished an even 8-8 in the league. Four sophomores return from that roster: Jordan Engbrecht, Jessica Jackson, Isabell West and Jacie Stephenson.

Jackson continues to make her way back from knee surgery, which limited her to just one game a year ago.

“I’m very excited,” Ortmeier said. “And I know the girls are excited, too. We have a solid group of players that are going to be able to allow us to compete in this region.”

Ortmeier, a native of Nebraska, spent the previous four seasons leading Laramie County. He helped start the program and build it from the ground up, earning back-to-back winning seasons. He has made stops at Colorado Northwestern, Dakota State and McPherson College.

West led the Tritons as a freshman at 13 points per game, shooting over 48 percent from the field with 7.5 rebounds and two assists a night as well. Engbrecht chipped in nine points a game and was a 31-percent shooter from the three-point line.

Stephenson added 36 points and 44 rebounds, while Jackson had 95 points and 89 rebounds during the 2019-20 campaign.

“Those sophomores have really helped in terms of giving us experience here and making the transition go smoothly,” Ortmeier said. “We also have some talented freshmen that have stepped up in practice.”

One of those is former Webster City standout Taylor McKinney. The sharpshooting guard set numerous school records and finished her senior season with 369 points and 52 made triples.

“Taylor has been really strong in practice,” Ortmeier said. “She can shoot the ball and handle it well. She’s been very impressive to me.”

Ortmeier also mentioned the play of Carly West, a newcomer from Minnesota, adding “she brings speed and athleticism, and a great ability to get to the rim.”

Viatris Scott, who started 21 games for Southeast Valley last year with 43 points, 72 rebounds, 15 steals and 10 assists, is also on the roster.

Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Rachel Sporrer will serve as the team manager.

IOWA CENTRAL WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Roster

Sophomores

Jordan Engbrecht, Canistota, S.D.; Jessica Jackson, Shenandoah; Isabell West, Shakopee, Minn.; Jacie Stephenson, Des Moines.

Freshmen

Nevaeh Moeschter, Minneapolis, Minn.; Holley Johnson, Lone Tree; Taylor McKinney, Webster City; Autumn Dykstra, Maquoketa; Sherynn Titus, St. Paul, Minn.; Nevaeh Galloway, Minneapolis, Minn.; Carley West, Woodbury, Minn.; Jocelyn Amos, Griswold; Viatris Scott, Pilot Mound; Emilyce Brown, Fremont, Neb.

Schedule

Jan. 20 – NIACC; 23 – Iowa Western; 27 – at Ellsworth; 30 – at Southwestern.

Feb. 3 – DMACC; 6 – at Marshalltown; 10 – Northeast; 17 – at NIACC; 20 – Marshalltown; 23 – at Iowa Western; 27 – at Kirkwood.

March 3 – Iowa Lakes; 6 – at Southeastern; 10 – Ellsworth; 13 – Southwestern; 17 – at Northeast; 24 – at Iowa Lakes; 27 – Southeastern; 31 – at DMACC.

April 3 – Kirkwood.

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