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Southeast Polk girls basketball team has a secret weapon

Not many girls’ basketball teams boast a five-star safety on the starting five. Neither does Southeast Polk, well at least not on roster.

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — The Southeast Polk women's basketball team has a secret weapon unlike any other in high school basketball. 

"They are very athletic, like, there’s a five-star safety that we normally don’t see in basketball games,” said Brooklin Dailey.

Not many girls’ basketball teams boast a five-star safety on the starting five. Neither does Southeast Polk, well at least not on roster for the women’s high school basketball team.

"First they think it's, 'Wow they look ridiculous,'” said Dailey. 

It might seem ridiculous, but don’t tell that to the dozen or so boys who came out to Monday's practice at the high school. 

The secret to success for the Rams basketball team— a scout team full of football players.

"We come to help the girls with their practices and give them any kind of help they need,” said Jaxon Dailey, the star quarterback of the Rams' football team that just won a state championship in the state’s highest classification.

The stars and accolades get erased when out on the court and are traded in for a white shirt with a number written in sharpie on it.

"This is just for the upcoming game, this is who I’ve got,” said Dailey as he was warming up for practice. The girls on the team use it to help them remember in-game time, or what that specific player usually does in the game. 

"It has what they do on the t-shirts, so we see it and know it,” said Dailey.

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"She’s a deep three shooter, so that’s me today, so I’m going to be pulling from deep,” said Xavier Nwankpa, a five-star-rated safety that’s set to commit to a major division one college on Wednesday.

"It’s just one more level of prepping for a game to kind of help you get a little bit more of an edge, and the girls to know more of what they are facing,” said head coach Tracy Dailey.

Players on the scout team have to follow some rules when playing, but the level of competitiveness doesn’t waver.

"No blocking, no blocked shots, stay below the rim, because we don’t want anybody to get hurt, but we also want that physicality and quickness of them playing defense,” said Coach Dailey.

The formula has worked. 

Since taking over for the program, coach Dailey’s Rams have never had a losing season. During his coaching career at Polk, the team has won 18 games or more in a season, eight different times.

"Not having them until this past week, we're already seeing a little bit of improvement each day, of just getting a little tougher, going a little harder,” said Dailey.

As for the competition between the girls' team and the illustrious scout team, "I think they’ve beat us, since I’ve been here, one time, and they posted on Twitter that they won and they were going crazy about it,” said Brooklin Dailey.

In the end, for this scout team, it’s not about wins or loses, it’s about helping make the real team better.

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