A new era for girls basketball

Posted: December 19, 2023

New coach brings different philosophy

A warm salty drop of sweat falls from your drenched forehead as you are catching your breath. You place your hands on your knees as you watch your legs tremble with aching pain. Just as you regain your strength you hear the coaches whistle blow. You’ve just run 10 killers and will continue scrimmaging after the much needed water break.

Finishing fourth in the state championship last season, the Minnehaha Academy girls basketball team is back in the gym ready for another great season. On November 13th the Redhawks started practice, eager to fly back into things and get back to work right away. As of now, the girls have started this season with a steady 7-0 record.

Leading the team is junior guard Addi Mack, averaging 28.8 points per game according to MN Girls’ Basketball Hub. As of last year Mack reached her 2,000 career point as a sophomore, and was awarded the 2023 Pioneer Press girls basketball Player of the Year award. Mack has already received many Power-5 offers.

“Our goals are higher this year. We want to be on the big stage. We want to be in that championship game,” said Mack.

The Redhawks are returning four of five starters from last season, and have Sadie Bensen back after spending last season on the sideline recovering from an ACL injury.

Being a Senior Captain, Bensen remarked,

“The team is very together this year. We have faced a lot of adversity and are adjusting very well to new coaching.”

Although a pretty thin team, the Redhawks have four of their five top scorers, as well as lots of experience returning to the court. Mack has played varsity since 7th grade, similarly to Senior Angel Hill.

Angel Hill thinks that so far the season is starting off well,

“It’s going amazing, I think our hard work is going to pay off and help us win,” said Hill.

New to the girls’ program is Coach Damien Lolar, who is looking forward to the season and learning about all of the great aspects of the team.

“He has already done a really good job connecting with the little seventh graders all the way to the high school players and making
everyone feel welcome,” said junior Addi Mack.

Native to Arkansas City, Kansas, Lolar attended Cowley County Community College where he was awarded first team all conference and first team all region. Holding a spot in the WTAMs hall of fame, he advanced to his professional career playing in China and Colombia. As Well as his 2 year career in the NBA D-league. Through these achievements Lolar got to exhibit this love and passion for the sport, which led to the later formation of Verve Basketball Academy, founded in spring of 2014.

“I am looking forward to this season, Damien is going to do great things,” said Mack.

What drew Lolar to Minnehaha Academy was the culture filled community of athletes and families.

“I want to help people chase their
dreams,” voiced Damien Lolar.

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