Eagan Basketball Sets the Bar High

Rayyaan Usmani, Sports Writer

Following a year that included a mix of highs and lows, the boys’ basketball squad is gearing up for another season. The team finished its last one with a section quarterfinal loss to Rosemount High School, ending with a final record of 12-14. After losing a few seniors, this squad is looking a little different.

“I’d say we play a bit differently,” stated senior guard Cole Hibbard, “We’re a lot more athletic and fast.” Hibbard also shared that the team will be able to use the speed they possess to their advantage when it comes to fast breaks. This speed should complement the team’s chemistry nicely, as many of those who played last year are returning this year.

GT Johnson, a senior guard and captain of the team, shared that the squad has several key contributors that are returning for this season. Juniors Colin Anderson and Sam Schuberg will be back to play their first full season on the varsity team, while seniors Cole Hibbard, Bryndan Matthews, Chase Seiberlich, and Jake Ohlhues are returning as well. GT stated that Tyler Buresh should be a major contributor to the team right away. “Tyler Buresh will come up big this year. He’s a solid player.”

The bar has been set high for this season. Hibbard stated, “Our major goal is to make state. And to make state, we will probably have to beat Apple Valley, so that is one of the goals, too.” Apple Valley has lost its nationally-ranked point guard Tyus Jones, but they still have a very good team. Johnson added that he believes the basketball squad can be in the top three of the conference. With goals such as these, reaching state definitely seems doable.

With that being said, there are a few games that all Eagan basketball fans have to mark on their calendar. Hibbard shared that the Eastview rivalry is the most intense game – one that everyone must attend – and Johnson added that the game against Shakopee is a major match-up as well. Why? Because Shakopee has been ranked inside the top ten in state, and GT believes it is a very winnable game.

The season’s first game is on Saturday and there are numerous reasons to be excited. The athleticism, leadership, and coaching of the team are all above average, while the chemistry should be quite strong. Further, GT Johnson recently committed to the University of St. Thomas, another example of the positive aura surrounding the team. One thing can be said for sure: teams around the conference are beginning to get nervous about this Wildcats’ basketball squad.