RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV)
Six losses in five years. When you talk about a legacy, there's no better high school program this side of the river than what Brandon Kandolin has created with the St. Thomas More girls basketball team. But a legacy implies an end, and the preseason brings a look to the future. The cavaliers have re-entered the gym rocking the preverbial state crowns that they're so used to wearing. They'd like to think, this legacy has no end in sight.
"They've been able to build a pretty cool legacy here," said senior guard Klaire Kirsch.
"Dru Gylten, she's a great player," said Kirsch.
The success that breeds more success.
"Just remembering that was there," said junior guard Alex Kandolin. "And that feeling of winning definitely pushes you and encourages me especially to try my hardest and do my best."
Smiles are often worn even while conditioning when you think you might be conditioning for a fifth straight state title.
"It's awesome, said Alex Kandolin. "The start of a new season is always great."
"This has been a date that's been on our calender since the end of last season so it's really great to be back," said Kirsch.
When an elite player leaves, a replacement is needed.
"Certainly we lost a couple of great players," said Cavaliers head coach Brandon Kandolin. "We had three seniors. Dru being one of the main leaders of last year."
"I'm so excited to be starting this new challenge, having to fill the shoes of the seniors who did leave," said Kirsch.
Though often unconventional...
"I don't have what I guess we would say the traditional one, two, three, four, five," said Brandon Kandolin. "For us, I want everyone to be able to dribble."
...consistency creates confidence...
"He does a great job designing plays that we can run," said Alex Kandolin. "And so they never get old. There's always something new to add."
...and orchestrates opportunities.
"We had some girls that were able to step up and play pretty hard and be forced into some roles and situations last year at the end of the season," said Brandon Kandolin.
"They were fast. Definitely bigger, stronger, quicker, smarter, said the coaches daughter."
"That was a great situation for me to see that they were able to handle it mentally, especially, was the big thing," said the head coach.
Fresh faces find where they fit as fall fades.
"Haleigh Timmer, she's pretty good. She's pretty quick," said Kirsch.
"Haleigh is going to be something special," said Brandon Kandolin. "We love to defend and that's going to be a thing for her as a freshman, to understand that when she plays this year, it's going to be bigger girls, it's going to be faster girls, smarter girls, girls that have experience and I think she's ready for that."
For a program that's firmly established, every new year is a chance for new combinations to do old things.