Triple P connection makes a lasting impact at H-LP
The Peters triplets -- Deni, Jena and Shelby -- have played a huge role in helping rejuvenate three girls' athletic programs at Harris-Lake Park over the past three and a half seasons, turning around Wolves' girls basketball, softball and volleyball programs.
"The Peters girls have become an important part in the Lady Wolves success as far as the athletic programs go," said Neal Brandt, H-LP co-head girls' basketball coach. "Each girl brings their own individual contributions and together they complement each other. Their competitiveness pushes each other amongst sisters. They have also helped bring leadership to the team. They work hard and are great team players. They understand what it takes to win as a team and want to win."
The Lady Wolves most recent success has come on the hardwood, where they have cruised to a 8-3 overall record in the first month of the season. H-LP has hopes of bringing home a banner after improving to 5-0 in the West Division at the midpoint of the season. The Wolves have a two game lead in the loss column and would clinch an outright division title by winning two of their three games against West Division foes. The Lady Wolves also have an outside chance of winning the overall league crown despite dropping a 57-44 decision to Cornbelt Conference favorite North Sentral Kossuth back on Dec. 18. With eight conference games still left on the schedule, the door would be left open for the Lady Wolves if the Eagles happen to slip up along the way.
"We could win a banner," said Shelby. "We've been working hard and really want to get some recognition for girls basketball."
After going through a number of coaches and different systems in four seasons, the Peters sisters, who are the only three seniors on the squad, have been consistent contributors throughout the season and their careers. They each rank in the top six this year in points scored, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots for a team that has already surpassed their win total of six from all of last season and has won three times as many games as 2007-08 when they managed just two victories.
"As seniors, they know this is their last opportunity and they're taking full advantage of their opportunity," said Brandt. "What a great way it would be for them to go out by winning the West Division. The Peters will succeed in whatever they do after high school since they're driven and have great character."
The multi-sport standouts have also made large impacts on the volleyball court and softball diamond.
All three girls started for this year's volleyball squad that finished with a 20-11 record and placed second in the conference behind NSK. Deni and Jena were also All-Conference performers for a team that set a new school record with 24 wins in 2008. The Wolves were conference runners-up during the Peters triplets' junior season.
Under the direction of Daryl Meyer, the H-LP volleyball team has improved from a 15-13 record in 2007 to 20 wins each of the last two years. They have won gone 44-17 for a .721 win percentage since the beginning of the '08 season. Each of the last two seasons, they have proven to be one of the best teams in this corner of the Iowa. In 2008, the Wolves won 16 matches in a row before losing to Schaller-Crestland in the regional finals. This past year, H-LP fired off 11 consecutive wins and captured wins in 17 of 18 matches down the stretch prior to a season-ending setback to Alta in the regional semifinals.
"We have a good program and have put a lot of time into it, so it's nice to see that come together," Shelby said.
The Wolves haven't had as drastic of a turnaround in softball, but they did take Alta down the wire in the quarterfinals of the regional softball tournament back in '08. They have also improved from nine wins that season to 12 in '09, and still have one more summer left to make an even bigger impression.
"In softball, we kind of turned the corner. We went from being a lower tier team to the middle of the pack, and we would even challenge the upper level at times," said Dennis Peters, former Harris-Lake Park co-head softball coach. "When we had Alta on the ropes, it showed how far we had come. We were only a couple of outs away from knocking them off."
Aside from girls basketball, softball and volleyball, Deni has also starred individually on the track for a talented Spirit Lake Park program as well. As a junior, she placed 13th in the 400-meter dash while also anchoring two Indian relay teams to top-10 showings against Class 3A competition at the 2009 Iowa State Co-Ed Track & Field Championships.
Despite spending so much time together on the court, the Peters sisters surprisingly have completely different personalities from each other off the court.
"When we're not playing sports, we're all separate people and like to do our own things," Jena commented.
Jena is the calm and collective sister, while Shelby has an outgoing personality and Deni has a bright personality and seems to be a mix of her other two sisters.
The Peters girls do share many things in common, though, including being excellent students and staying active with a variety of activities other than sports. They are all members of the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Fellowship of Carpenters. Jena, a 2009 Iowa Girls Coaches Association Academic All-State honoree in volleyball, is also involved in band. Shelby and Deni are both active in chorus and drama while Shelby participates in speech as well.
Although the three sisters have been playing on the same sports teams since they were little kids, they could each end up at different colleges next year. Shelby is planning on attending Minnesota State in Moorhead, Minn. to study anthropology, Deni is trying to decide between Dana College in Blair, Neb. and Northwestern College to major in spanish education and Jena is still trying to choose between Morningside, Buena Vista and Dana to study biochemistry. Deni and Jena are both planning on continuing their athletic careers.