Beyond the Bleachers: Bennett County Parent Molly Risse's Power of Positivity is infectious

Bennett County parent, Molly Risse, third from left is a continuous presence of positivity for the town of Martin and now surrounding areas.

By Rich Winter

In the year prior to Sacred Hoops Co-Director Allan Bertram starting the Sacred Hoops Basketball Program, Coach drove some serious miles to spend time in Bennett County. One of the truly great speeches to sit in on is a Sacred Hoops led Allan Bertram speech to parents, players, coaches and communities. Well, Coach delivered multiple speeches like that to the community of Martin, and the county of Bennett, to help revitalize the sports programs by reminding that community that all they needed was right there in their town.

One of the parents that attended those meetings had a son that had just graduated high school and a daughter with a large group of friends/athletes that were just on the cusp of junior high. As she sat in on those meetings and heard Coach Bertram talk about all of the little things that help make towns and athletic programs successful, a light turned on.

“Thanks to Coach Bertram for making me realize that my role isn't to sit and wait for someone else,” she said.

This lady, Molly Risse, yearned for more positivity for the young people in Bennett County. Risse, worried that her daughter and her friends, and the kids in Bennett County hadn’t had, and wouldn’t have the opportunities kids from more populous regions might have.

So, she did something about it!

“If the kids want it then it's my responsibility to help them find a way,” Molly Risse, Bennett County Class of 1985

Alright, so a lot of the Bennett County high school (school and sports) related stuff can be seen on a Facebook Group called the Warrior Way. Molly is one of the most active posters, and someone that is putting opportunities ‘out there’ just so the kids know about opportunities like camps and events.

Molly posts a lot…She shares information about camps and upcoming events, BUT, perhaps her greatest is giving those ‘little’ life shaping good jobs to young people doing their best.

“I just want to nurture the little successes,” Risse told me recently.

Wanted to share a couple of personal stories to better emphasize the quality of character of Molly Risse.


Late last year, Sacred Hoops hosted an auction along with a basketball camp to raise money for a beloved coach at Todd County, Tonya Whirlwind Soldier who was battling cancer.

Molly and her girls knew coach Whirlwind Soldier from track and cross country meets as the TC legend cheered the Bennett County girls on during the race and always talked to and encouraged the BC girls.

Molly Risse herself is a cancer survivor and the moment her girls heard that Coach WWS needed help they dropped ‘Everything’ and went to work constructing a brilliant and thoughtful basket to help a friend in need.

Sometimes it is not the gift, it is the thought behind it…


I asked my sister in law to make a quilt for my "secret senior boy "

I told her he was my boy that doesn't believe he fits anywhere...that I wanted a quilt to reflect that somehow.

She thought about my words and made this quilt from her scraps..We both cried at the beauty.

Aside from the great work she’s doing in the community, Risse is one of our favorite Sacred Hoops parents. Molly discovered Sacred Hoops last year, and now, she’s pretty fired up about Sacred Hoops influencing Bennett County Basketball in the very near future.

“I am so excited we have 6 girls playing Sacred Hoops and one boy. Trying to build the girls team…having that many playing, plus we will do the camps that are close with the rest of the teammates hopefully we can get better prepared,” she said.

Bennett County girls after Sacred Hoops Practice:

Bennett County girls on their way 2 Sacred Hoops Practice.


Molly would be the first to tell you that Bennett County has some amazing young parents and teachers that really want their kids to find success. She would say ‘Our’ and ‘We’ before ever daring to pat herself on the back. But, we at Sacred Hoops wanted to thank ‘U’ for taking the time to share and forward so much positivity across South Dakota, and beyond!