Amie Tunheim was a shooting guard and vital cog for Orono last year, helping the Spartans to the Section 6, 3A championship game.

The Spartans' lost some key players from that team, but still have hope as long as they have the 5-11 senior, who blends intelligence, a sweet stroke and the strength to get to the basket if points are needed.

Staff writer Jim Paulsen pulled Tunheim away from her Advanced Placement calculus homework to talk a little basketball.

Q From a basketball standpoint, how busy have you been since the end of last season?

A Pretty busy. We've had as many practices as you can, we've had captains' practices, we played in a summer league and a fall league. We're taking every single opportunity to improve.

Q Did you play AAU?

A Yes, with the Minnesota Fury. Lot of good players and all-around great kids.

Q What has been your biggest improvement?

A Mostly my intelligence. Knowing which pass to make when and which play to make.

Q How do things look for this year?

A We lost three of our leading scorers, three seniors who were instrumental for us last year. We have a lot of really young players this year. We have a long way to go, but we'll get there.

Q Sounds like you're going to have to take on a leadership role.

A I think so. It's quite a bit of pressure. We only have four or five seniors, no juniors, two sophomores and about 15 freshmen. That puts a lot of pressure on me.

Q How will that affect your game?

A Last year it was easier for me to get open. This year I'm going to have to work that much harder to get open. But that should just make me a better player.

Q As a shooter, how much do you practice?

A My dad and I shoot a lot. Today we shot for an hour. We shot about 500 shots.

Q Any tips for becoming a good shooter?

A It's mostly just precision and repetition. A lot of it is mental. On some games, I will start out missing my first three or four shots. You just have to persevere and keep shooting and believe you will make them.

Q With all of the young players on your team, what is one piece of advice you can give them?

A It's something my dad always says, and I think it's applicable everywhere: Do the things you can control and everything else will take care of itself.

Q Do you have any pregame superstitions or rituals?

A I have a lot of them. I take a nap for about 45 minutes, then I get up and have a roast turkey sandwich. Then I play the piano for 30 minutes, which energizes my mind. Then I do a little homework and I'm ready.

Q Have any college plans?

A Yes. I've applied to about 10 schools, all of them with basketball in mind.

Q Which schools are you leaning towards?

A Right now, I really like Bucknell. I've had correspondence with them. And Valparaiso in Indiana. Those are the two Division I schools. I'm not looking at Division II but in Division III, I like St. Olaf and Carleton and Middlebury in Vermont.