Girls basketball season preview

Alex Kim, Staff Reporter

On Friday, Nov. 20, Preston Johnson, father of senior basketball player, Xavier Johnson, amped up the crowd at the first annual Hopkins basketball season kick-off fundraiser.

“And let’s hear it for the 2015 girl’s basketball state champions! If there are any players in the building that were on the 2015 team can they please stand up!”Johnson said.

Nia Hollie, senior, was one of the players that stood. She had just recently signed her letter of intent to play basketball at Michigan State earlier that week.

“What can you tell us about this upcoming year Nia?” Johnson asked.

Hollie looked around for a moment and spoke with confidence when she stated, “the girls basketball team will be the 2016 state champions.”

The girls basketball team has a target on their back this year. And as always, has sky high expectations placed upon them.

In the past five years, the girls team have won the 4A state championship four times. Last year was no exception.

Last season the girls basketball team finished with a 25-1. Their loss came from Eastview in a 75-70 loss. However, the royals got their revenge beating Eastview in the 4A state championship title game with a 68-60 win.

This season, the Royals face Eastview Wednesday, Dec. 30, at St. Olaf College.

After the departure of alumni TT Starks and Viara Livingston, the Royals have an impressive record to uphold. Both former starters, the two play on Division I teams, Iowa State and Illinois State respectively.

Hollie, Ashley Bates, Evelyn Knox, and K’Aezha Wubben, seniors, hope to lead the team back to the Target Center. Big expectations are also set in place for junior, Dee Dee Winston, after her impressive play in last season’s playoffs.

“We are looking a lot better during the first week of the season than we have in previous seasons,” Hollie said. “We have pretty strong chemistry and really talented underclassman that will help contribute to the team. We feel pretty good.”

The journey to another state championship begins at home on Friday, Nov. 27 against Minneapolis South.