A year after he hired Scott Raper as the boys basketball coach at the newly opened Centennial High School in 2007, Phil Ingersoll predicted the potential to play for a state championship in the near future for the Bison.
“After our first year, he told me we'd have a chance to play for the gold ball in the next two or three years,” Raper said. “I just wanted to get to the state tournament. I saw that as a big deal for us.
“I never thought we could win two state titles in the first five years, but to have the opportunity that the kids have provided has been amazing.”
Even more amazing is the reloading job Raper did after graduating the heart and soul of his 2011 team with a talented senior class that anchored the first championship run.
It wasn't a bunch of experienced juniors who stepped into leadership roles to guide the team to title No. 2 last month.
It was sophomores and freshmen filling those voids. In fact, the team only had two seniors in all, one of whom had significant playing time the year before.
“There was a lot of difference this year, because we had so many young kids,” Raper said. “It was a learning process. The hardest part was constantly reminding myself that some of these kids have never been in this position.
“But after awhile, I learned how to push their buttons and they learned what our expectations were.”
It tried Raper's patience at times, as it did for senior point guard Da'Sean Carolina.
“At first, things went a lot slower than last year,” Carolina said. “But the young guys started learning what to do, and then they started catching on real quick. The coaches and the older guys were all working to help them catch on to what we were running.”
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