Girls’ bball looks to take title this season

Girls bball looks to take title this season

the girls’ basketball team hopes to work hard this year to win another state championship with strong seniors guiding the way.

David Nelson, Staff Writer

Two years ago, the girls’ basketball team held up its arms in triumph as the Red Knights overcame Hill-Murray’s strong comeback and won the state championship. The most amazing feat of that game was the amount of points that came from the class of 2012. Those same girls are now seniors and are prepared to create a memory that would last a lifetime: wining the State Title.

Expectations could not be higher for the team this year with the strong senior talent returning from last season. “Because of our success, we always expect to win. We have a big target on our backs because we’ve been in the state tournament the past couple seasons. We want to stay healthy and take it one game at a time,” said Mr. Bob Lyons, Head Coach.

The Red Knights have been a consistent winner over the past couple of years with a record of 119 – 32. Unfortunately, the they were unable to repeat as state champions last season, suffering a heart-breaking loss to the eventual state champs DeLaSalle. “I think it motivated us. This last spring and summer we’ve put in a lot of hard work. We’re opening the season with a positive state of mind,” said Lyons.

The players have trained rigorously over the course of the spring and summer, trying to get back to the 26 – 5 squad they were last year. “I focused on improving little aspects of my game, such as my outside shot and point guard IQ. I studied a lot of film and was able to pin-point certain areas of my game that I needed to work on,” said sophomore point guard Grace Coughlin.

However, the Red Knights also suffered a large blow this off-season, as last year’s leading scorer, Olivia Antilla, transferred to Osseo High School. The team also lost some key players to graduation last May. “It’s always a challenge to lose scoring. Olivia, Sarah Kopp, Lindsay Kaminski and Sidney Pilarsky…that’s about 34 points per game so it’s very tough. We’re going to feel the effects. However, our great chemistry and team play will stay the same,” said Mr. Lyons.

The Red Knights will also have to deal with a tough schedule that features defending state champs DeLaSalle, perenial state favorite Hill-Murray, as well as last years number four team in the state Eden Prairie. However, Coach Lyons is more concerned with another opponent, “Our two Cooper games are going to be the most challenging. They are very improved from last year, they’re in our conference, and there will be a lot at stake,” said Coach Lyons.

Regardless of all the adversity, the girls are confident they can remain one of the best teams in the state. “As long as we play hard and as a team, we will go far because we have more than enough talent and great team chemistry,” said senior captain Khadijah Shumpert.

That talent, experience, and chemistry on the team could be what puts the team over the top and helps them win a state title. “I really believe we can, as long as we put in the work and play well as a team. I’d say our biggest threat at the state tournament would be DeLaSalle because they didn’t lose anybody from last year. If we can knock them out, I think we have a good chance,” said senior captain Josie Dillon.