by Caleb Sebora
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN “When we started the season, I told the girls that we were preparing for the last game,” said Mike Lee, head coach for the Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity varsity girls basketball team. “And they bought into it.”
They certainly did. The team opened up its season winning its first 15 games, preparing day after day, winning game after game, until finally their first loss of the season came to the eventual Class A state runner-up team, The Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs. LP/HT lost the game by four points.
What the team probably didn’t prepare for was to be selected as the grand marshals for the Prairie Days paradeSaturday, July 9.
“I was kind of surprised,” said Hope Feltmann, an upcoming senior on the girls basketball team, when asked what she thought when she first found out.
“My first thought was, ‘what are we going to ride on [in the parade]?’” said newly-graduated member Harley Hentges with a laugh.
“We weren’t expecting it, but it was a huge honor,” said Feltmann, smiling back.
“When I found out, I was surprised,” said Lee, “but I wasn’t, at the same time, when I thought about it.”
The Bulldogs, who amassed a season record of 26 wins and just four losses, and fell one game short of making it to the state tournament, losing to Maranatha again, 67-64, have made it to the section championship game three of the past four years.
“I think it would be different if this were just a one-season thing, but we’ve had continued success,” said Lee.
That success has been something that the community has taken note of; it’s been something to cheer and root for.
“We would go to other places and we’d have a bigger crowd than the home team,” said Madi Radtke, an upcoming senior, showing an example of just how much the community rallied behind them.
“The girls embody what Lester Prairie is all about, what a small community is about,” said Lee. “They represent the school and the town, not just as athletes or in the class, but how they play as a team.”
The girls couldn’t agree more.
“I felt we were a team not just on the court, but everywhere,” said Feltmann, as she looked around at some of her fellow teammates.
“We all have a lot of trust in each other,” added Steph Lohse, another upcoming senior.
“We were all really connected, and we’ve been so together this season,” finished Hentges, as the other girls nodded in agreement. “And, as a senior, I think it was the best season. We played the best team basketball.”
So, maybe the LP/HT girls basketball team was preparing, after all, to be the grand marshals after all, they’ve been exemplifying what it means to come together all season long.