The New Valley Hoops
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The boys basketball Eagles are back on the court ready for another promising season, with a new-look roster and great aspirations.
Last year, the Eagles had an amazing record of 18-0 in the regular season. The team also breezed through sections playoffs, ultimately finishing third in state after losing to Hopkins in the state championship semifinals.
Last season was also a year of many goodbyes, as a total of eight players left the team. A big hole was left behind by the seven graduating seniors.
The only junior among those eight players was star Gary Trent, Jr., who has decided to spend his senior year at Prolific Prep, a California-based club program. Last season he lead the team with an average of 25 points per game in the regular season and 34 in the playoffs. He recently committed to Duke University, where Apple Valley alum and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones played in 2015.
“It will certainly be different now,” said head coach Zach Goring. “Gary was a big part of our team.”
This season, new faces have replaced the vacant spots. It’s now a roster filled with mainly juniors and only a few seniors.
“We need to shoot the ball really well and we need to be very aggressive defensively,” said Goring. “We don’t have a seven-footer as a center anymore.”
Apple Valley has also embodied a new blueprint, since the new players have brought different characteristics from last year’s team. The Eagles have had to adopt a faster game plan and utilize jump shots more than last year.
In spite of the many changes, the Eagles seem to have kept their winning mentality, as shown in their opening game against Minneapolis North. They won 84-70, dominating in rebounds, assists and three-point shooting. Their excellent ball movement predominantly helped them win, but also displayed their tight chemistry.
One player in particular had an amazing performance: Tre Jones. The junior came out as a leader with an impressive triple-double of 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. His five blocks and three steals also demonstrated his defensive work and truly exhibited his well-rounded qualities.
“Tre is going to be huge this season,” said Goring.
The Eagles now look forward to a very competitive conference with many teams that showcase future Division I players. Apple Valley’s next game will be an away game this Thursday against Minnetonka.