To return from glory

By Kenny Kiratli

Kenny Kiratli ('17) attends Northwestern University.

Posted: December 13, 2013

Boys’ basketball team returns to the court after a state championship season

Missed passes. Miscommunication. Missed shots. Struggles like these have the Redhawk boys’ basketball team needing new leaders to step up. A state championship title looms over the team, and only one question can be asked: Can this team fire back with a target on their back?

“This year since we are all mixed and only a couple of us have actually played with each other for a couple years so it is different from last year,” said senior captain Jahleel Davis. “Mostly we need to communicate more. Our main goal this year is just to get better with each other and know what we can do and if we do that we can easily go back to State.”

Last March, the net was cut down and the Redhawk basketball team, a team not even ranked in the top 10 in state by mid-January, finished number one. As a new season approaches and with several key players graduated, the champions return to the court, and the team that has shed its shell looks to raise the championship banner yet again.

“My expectations for the year are always the same,” said head coach Lance Johnson, “whether we have a state championship team, or an average team. Number one: have fun. Number two: Work hard and reach our potential.”

Some may think winning state leaves little room for improvement, but that is not the mindset of the coaches and players.

“I expect [the varsity team] to hopefully make it back to state, at least compete every night,” said Micha Guthland, basketball coach.

The team will be fueled partially by youth, as freshmen Simeon Davis and Joevon Walker join the team. JaVonni Bickham will also play on varsity this year as a 6’6″ eighth grader. However, members of last year’s state roster will rejoin the team this season.

“We won’t just be young,” said Johnson. “We’ll have a blend of senior boys who had to wait their turn last year. They will have to definitely be blended with some younger [kids], but our seniors are such great leaders that I don’t have to even worry about [inexperience].”

Senior captains Jahleel Davis, who saw the most playing time among returning players in last spring’s state tournament, Joe Elmquist and Tommy Ostrem seek to lead the Redhawks this season as well as the other captains. After looking up to last year’s senior class, the seniors can’t wait to get their chance to show what they can do on the court.

“I believe, and so do my teammates, that we can go far this year,” said Elmquist. “We need to work together because we have a lot of new guys on the team. As long as we have the dedication and continue to work, we can do great things.”

With new young players and seniors that have waited their turn, the most important thing these Redhawks need to worry about is figuring out how to work together.

Everyone will be out to beat the Redhawks after last year. Basketball teams across Minnesota want bragging rights as to beating the reigning state champions. After this season, who will be able to make this claim?

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