A winning streak has led to a pink streak in Dennis Roloff’s hair.
The artificial coloring is a result of a deal he made with his new girls’ basketball team, the Mount Vernon Mustangs. Win five in a row, Roloff said, and he’d add a tinge of pink.
Mount Vernon followed a season-opening loss with six straight victories. And, well, a deal is a deal.
“It just blends in with the gray (hair),” he said.
Roloff was let go at Cedar Rapids Kennedy last spring after 21 seasons. He said the ousting “still hurts,” but the blow has been softened by his hiring at Mount Vernon.
The opening occured after Bob Kintzel resigned so he could watch his daughters play volleyball at UNI.
“I’m having a great time here,” Roloff said. “The kids are great. I haven’t had any trouble with parents. Everyone has been supportive and welcoming.
“This team isn’t very big — the tallest kid is 5-11 if she’s lucky — but they really get after it and play with a lot of heart.”
Mount Vernon, ranked 11th in Class 3A, takes a 7-2 record (4-1 in the Wamac Conference East Division) into the holiday break. Seven of the Mustangs’ games have been decided by 10 points or less, and they’ve won five of them.
The most impressive win was the first one, a 57-50 road victory over a talented Center Point-Urbana squad.
None of the Mustangs’ top five scorers are seniors. Junior Miranda Chapman leads the team at 13.9 points per game, followed by sophomore Alli Platte (10.1).
Roloff had a deep rotation at Kennedy — usually 10-12 players — but has scaled that back to seven or eight at Mount Vernon.
“We’re still playing the same kind of ball. We want to press and cause turnovers, and the kids are getting the hang of it,” Roloff said.
PERFECT 10, TIMES THREE
The last three area unbeatens are also the first three teams to reach double-digit wins.
Benton Community, Cascade and North Linn moved to 10-0 with triumphs Tuesday.
A thumbnail on each:
Benton has extended its regular-season winning streak to 37 games, dating back to January 2011. The Bobcats’ closest game this season has been a seven-pointer against Marion.
UNI recruit Madison Weekly leads the team at 16 points per game. Freshman Alyssa Wiebel (11.8 ppg) is the only non-senior among the top eight scorers.
The Bobcats (5-0 Wamac West) hold a one-game lead on Center Point-Urbana and play the Stormin’ Pointers twice after the break — the first time is Jan. 8.
Cascade and North Linn have vaulted to the top of the Tri-Rivers Conference with matching 7-0 league records. Cascade dumped Maquoketa Valley, 48-36, Tuesday at Delhi while North Linn is scheduled to host the Wildcats (8-2, 6-1) Friday at Troy Mills.
As always, defense is driving Cascade. The Cougars are allowing 25.6 points per game, a figure that ranks fourth in the state in all classes.
The Cougars don’t have a dominant scorer (junior Abbey Meyer leads at 6.9 points per game), but possess a balanced, 10-player attack.
North Linn feasted on a soft early schedule; only two of the Lynx’s first 10 opponents have winning records. They have won by an average of 36.1 points per game, with the closest contest a 44-29 win at Monticello on Tuesday.
Sophomore Nicole Miller leads the Lynx at 20.3 points per game, including a school-record 34 on Dec. 4 against Alburnett. Four others (Haley Dudley, Maddie Boer, Libby Falconer and Brenna Winn) are averaging more than 7 points per game, boosting an offense (64.8 ppg) that ranks No. 8 statewide.
Cascade and North Linn play only once — Jan. 8 at Troy Mills.