The Anatomy of a State Champion

Class 4A State Champion - Head Coach Andy Berkvam

"It all starts with defense," says Lakeville North Head Coach Andy Berkvam.



  Panthers Push “D” for Another Run at the State Title

The 2009-10 Class AAAA Minnesota State Champion Lakeville North apparently didn’t need "the charm”. The Panthers won their first title in only their second trip to the big dance. Last March, Lakeville North beat the White Bear Lake Bears 57 to 47 at the Target Center. When asked if the Panthers could claw their way back to another basketball championship, Head Coach Andy Berkvam told gPrep, “It all starts with defense. You need to make a team work on every possession, if you are going to be championship caliber.” As gPrep learned, “hungry” Panthers are just what the top cat needs.

gprep coach andy berkvam, lakeville north
Coach Andy Berkvam, Lakeville North - cutting down the net


gPrep: What’s the hardest part about being a defending state champion?

Coach Berkvam: "Complacency, you hope your players are still hungry for a run at another title. There is nothing easy!"

gPrep: What will it take to repeat in March?

Coach Berkvam: "We will have to really work on the little things on O and D that Cassie Rochel may have covered up, especially on defense."

gPrep: Talk about the components of a championship team.

Coach Berkvam: "That's easy, coaches coaching, parents parenting and players playing. The hardest thing to do is get everyone going in the same direction. If you are successful getting everyone on the same page, you have a chance to put everything together."

2010 Class 4A Champion, Lakeville North

gPrep: Who is your toughest team to play?

Coach Berkvam: Eastview and Lakeville North have a tremendous rivalry. Paul Goetz always finds a way to get the most out of his teams, and it seems we always have great games year in and year out."

gPrep:What’s the single most important skill/talent a team needs to get to the Target Center in March?

Coach Berkvam: "It all starts with defense. You need to make a team work on every possession, if you are going to be championship caliber."

Rachel Banham receiving her gold metal

gPrep: Describe the “perfect” team.

Coach Berkvam: "The perfect team would be 15 -18 players that all accept their roles on the team. Parents who accept their daughters role on a team and coaches who are united as a staff and leave no stones uncovered."

gPrep: Describe the “total” player.

Coach Berkvam: "A player that puts the team above themself and also recognizes what they bring to the team that can help it be successful."

gPrep: How many have you coached?

Coach Berkvam: "I have been very fortunate to coach some outstanding individuals. Each one of these individuals had a great core of role players around them that made them better. Role players that understood we had total players on our team and how to get those players the ball in clutch situations."

Lakeville North Fan - Head Coach Andy Berkvam

gPrep: Is there pressure on you to win again?

Coach Berkvam: "No, but there is pressure to get everyone going in the same direction again. If you have parents with their own agenda, it makes it really tough."

gPrep: What’s the best basketball advice you’ve ever been given?

Coach Berkvam: "Don't expect perfection. It seldom ever comes together."

Cassie Rochel receiving her gold metal


gPrep: Who’s your mentor?

Coach Berkvam: "I have had several, my dad, Darwin Deim, Jed Dommeyer, Dan McCarrel, Butch Raymond and Jim Schreffler."

gPrep: Finally, talk a little about Cassie Rochel and Rachel Banham.

Coach Berkvam: "Cassie and Rachel were a special combination that I may never have again. They respected each other and their teammates."


Lakeville North bench







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