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Jalen Suggs and Tre Jones, two of the nation’s top prospects, go head to head in highly anticipated game. Photo by Reid Westrem.

High expectations for basketball team

After winning state in 2016, boys start again ranked #1 in Class AA

The Minnehaha Redhawks basketball team is coming off an amazing state championship season and they are looking for another one. Losing only two seniors in the rotation from last year, they are looking to go back to back for the first time in any sport in school history.

They have started the year off very hot by beating three AAAA teams all ranked in the top ten including Apple Valley, East Ridge and Park Center. All were close games that Minnehaha pulled out in the end. They beat Apple Valley 82- 79, East Ridge 60-58, and came back from a big deficit to beat Park Center 61-55.

A lot of times when teams win a state championship and come back with the same team they start the year feeling like they can win even without trying. When sophomore basketball Forward, Kaden Johnson was asked about this he said, “Communication will be key for us to get off to a hot start.” North Minneapolis, known as a basketball powerhouse has moved up into the same class as Minnehaha creating another hurdle for the Redhawks to get around. “Our confidence will still be the same about winning the state tournament,” Johnson said. Johnson is not worried about the tough test of North Minneapolis, “We fear no one.”

“As long as we play up to or over our potential we should be able to compete for a state championship.” said head basketball coach Lance Johnson. “We need to play well in December or else our win loss record will suffer, I believe that we can beat (Minneapolis North) but I also think they can beat us, so I’m just excited for another challenge.”

“We will be returning pretty much the same team as last year only losing two role players,” sophomore guard Terry Lockett said. “Coming back bigger, stronger, smarter, and more experienced, we should have a good shot at making a big run to the state championship.” When Lockett was asked how they would make sure not to get off to slow start he said, “I’m sure none of us are content with one state title, and everyone has expectations for us to win many more, so I think that will be enough motivation to not start out slow.”

“We just want to play hard, win, and have fun,” said senior forward Javonni Bickham. When Bickham was asked how to get off to a hot start he said,“We just need to need to stay humble and hungry, and we have to play every second of the game like the score is 0-0.” Bickham is not worried about any opponent in their path, “We should win if we are playing basketball how we are supposed to.”

“We are all looking for another state championship, we’re not satisfied with one.” sophomore guard Jalen Suggs said. When Suggs was asked about any personal expectation he said, “It doesn’t matter what I do as long as we win,” Suggs later said, “I will never fear an opponent even if they’re as good as North (Minneapolis) is.”

The Minnehaha Redhawks team isn’t worried about any team they play. Everyone on this team clearly has high expectations for this season and clearly want to become back to back state champions for the first time in school history.

 

 

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