East Atchison's Hedlund flourishing in leadership role | Sports | kmaland.com – KMAland

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Mostly sunny. High 51F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph..
Partly cloudy. Low around 30F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: January 12, 2022 @ 11:19 am
Mostly sunny. High 51F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph..
Partly cloudy. Low around 30F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: January 12, 2022 @ 11:19 am
Natalie Hedlund, East Atchison

Natalie Hedlund, East Atchison
(Fairfax) — The lone holdover from last year’s starting lineup for the East Atchison (7-5) girls basketball team is blossoming with a stellar cast that is building chemistry.
Junior Natalie Hedlund leads the Wolves’ lineup with 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and is fresh off a stellar week where she averaged 23.3 points per game in three contests.
“This week was long,” Hedlund said. “We weren’t sure what to expect. The teams were pretty good,and it was good competition for us. We just clicked, made adjustments and put points on the board.”
The Wolves went 2-1 in the week with wins over Nodaway Valley and Rock Port. Her most impressive performance of the week came on Friday, when she dropped 31 points in a win over rival Rock Port.
“Rock Port is always a big game for us,” she said. “We want to beat them. I watched film and wanted to get better at the mistakes I made. Against Rock Port, it all got put into place, and we showed them what we can do. I think we played pretty well.”
Hedlund says their strong start to 2022 was what they hoped for when they practiced over Christmas break.
“We worked on our press and bettering our defense,” Hedlund said. “We knew we had to make some changes. We also focused on making connections with our team. That’s important because we have a young team.”
This year has been full of change for East Atchison. Four of their five starters from last year’s district final qualifying team graduated. That prompted Hedlund into a leadership role, which she has welcomed.
“It’s been a challenge,” she said. “But I think it’s been fun to get the younger girls involved and make connections with this team.”
As Hedlund and her teammates continue building chemistry, she feels they can be a dangerous team in February.
“We are building our team,” she said. “It’s only going to get better from here.”
It’s a big week for Hedlund and her team as the Wolves host their annual Fairfax Tournament. They kicked off the tournament with a convincing 53-18 win over Rock Port on Monday night. The Wolves are eyeing a fifth consecutive title at their home tournament.
“It’s always a team’s goal to win their own tournament,” Hedlund said. “We want to get that win. I’m hoping we can return that championship. It will be a big week for us.”
East Atchison faces Falls City in pool play on Wednesday.
KMA Sports will have live play-by-play from the Fairfax Tournament on Friday and Saturday night for the 3rd-place & championship games.
Check out the full interview with Hedlund below. 
At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing kmaradio@kmaland.com.
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