A family affair: Rikkola family helps turn Sevastopol girls basketball into contender

A family affair: Rikkola family helps turn Sevastopol girls basketball into contender
Posted at 4:57 PM, Jan 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-30 15:01:06-05

STURGEON BAY — Until last year, the Sevastopol girls basketball team hadn’t finished with a winning record since the 2009-2010 season. Now with the help of the Rikkola family, it’s blazing a new path.

Over the last two years the tides have changed for the program as they have become a force to be reckoned with. This year they’re 16-1 with a two game lead in the Packerland conference.

“I feel like we've been working for it for our entire lives, so it would just feel amazing,””

The Pioneers are three wins away from breaking the school record for most in season.

“This our time, this our year, Why not us basically,” said head coach Ben Rikkola.

The pioneers are led by senior Bailey Rikkola who recently reached 1,000 points, something only a few have done in school history..

“It’s been in my mind for a very long time so it felt really great to accomplish it,” she said.

The second leading scorer on the team is here sophomore sister, Naomi.

“Naomi is very tough, inside especially and she’s a double threat great shooter,” said Bailey.

Then there’s Dad, Ben Rikkola, who has been the Pioneers head coach since Bailey was a freshman.

“He was hard on us right away,” said Bailey. “He was always hard on us especially because we’re his daughter, He’s hard on our teammates as well and I think that gets us in a winning mindset a lot.”

But theres one more Rikkola, an assistant on the varsity squad and head coach of the JV team, mom, Beth Rikkola.

“I think we’d be lost without her because she’s kind of the sports matriarch of Sevastopol,” said Ben.

Safe to say, it’s a family affair and if you don’t believe in fate, here’s something for you. Ben and Beth have been together since middle school and have known each other since birth, growing up together in Mellen, Wisconsin.

“Before school we would go in the gym and shoot,” said Beth.

“We’d rebound for each other and that’s why you got so good,” Ben joked about Beth.

Both were quite the basketball players in high school and starred at Northland College and they’re still quite competitive with each other.

“They do shooting competitions whenever we come into the gym and it’s always very close and I think they might be tied right now,” Bailey joked.

“I kick a ball every once in a while and get a little frustrated. It happens,” Beth laughed.

And that competitiveness has rubbed off on their children, who have their own heated competitions

“She cries,” Naomi joked about her one on one games with older sister Bailey.

“I get grumpy. I won’t talk to her for a few hours,” said said.

It’s all love between the 2. They share a lot of common interests and a love for shopping at Target.

“I look up to Bailey in everything, everything she does, I do the same and she’s a really good influence on me,” Naomi said.

And now all 4 are trying not to think about the inevitable, Bailey graduating and the end of their time shared together on the hardwood.

“You cherish all those (moments) because like you said in a month it could be all over for her,” Beth said.

With the end of this chapter near, they hope this is the start of a Pioneers basketball dynasty. After all, younger sister Sadie will be up in a few years as well.

“It does feel like all of the hard work is finally paying off. Hopefully we’re starting a winning tradition that can last a long time here,” said Ben.