The Anatomy of a State Champion

Class 2A State Champion - Head Coach Josh Thurow

"We are going to rely on players like Katelyn Adams, who has 3 years worth of State Tournament experience, to lead us back," says Minnehaha Academy Head Coach Josh Thurow.



               Head Redhawk To Zero In  On Target Center

Led by Minnehaha Academy Head Coach Josh Thurow last March, the Redhawks swooped in and took their first Class AA state championship title…beating the Braham Bombers 64-46. “Our returning players have to play great all year, and our newer varsity members need to be playing state tournament quality basketball by March”, said Coach Thurow. But will the 2010-11 Redhawks soar in the regular season to get to the post season?  gPrep goes “one-on-one” with Coach Thurow to get the answer.

#11 Rachel Hansen


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

Coach Thurow: "Probably replacing those Senior girls who helped make it happen. We had 4 who each played a role in our Championship run. Emilia Kronschnabel was a great teammate and captain. Sarah Scholl was our defensive stopper and made All-Tournament. Analisa Ballinger stepped up and hit 5 3\'s in the Semi-Final win over Rochester Lourdes. Lastly, Rachel Hansen was a 5 year starter who played her best ball at the Target Center last year. Who can step in to fill those holes? That's the hardest thing."

gPrep: What will it take to repeat in March?

Coach Thurow: "Our returning players have to play great all year, and our newer Varsity members need to be playing State Tournament quality basketball by March. We are going to rely on players like Katelyn Adams, who has 3 years worth of State Tournament experience, to lead us back."

gPrep: Talk about the components of a championship team.

Coach Thurow: "For us, it took a group of girls who did exactly what they were asked to do at the best of their abilities. You can have the best game plan in the world, but if your players go about it in a halfhearted manner it won't work. Our championship team did a great job of executing and sharing in the hard work."

2010 Class 2A Champion, Minnehaha Academy


gPrep: You had seniors to make the all tournament team, how difficult is it to loose your seniors to graduation?

Coach Thurow:: "As I mentioned before, we will miss them heavily, but that's high school sports. I can't imagine replacing Rachel Hansen, but this program has faced the same issues trying to replace Bri Nance, Tessa Flippin, Megan Erlandson, Sarah Peterson, etc. The next group of players has to step up and play like the girls before them did."

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

Coach Thurow: "Skill wise, for us this year, was the ability to block out the nervous energy that is natural on that stage. We made a team decision that being nervous wouldn't score us any hoops, grab us any rebounds or help us on defense - I think we played loose, confident basketball due to this attitude."

gPrep: Describe the “perfect” team?

Coach Thurow: "The perfect team has the right mixture of confidence, drive and competitiveness. They don't care who gets the credit, they just want to win. It would be comprised of a group of players who are willing to all play their roles for the good of the team."

gPrep: Describe the “total” player?

Coach Thurow: "Tough to say...I think Rachel Hansen proved herself to be a total player this last season, but I've coached a lot of great girls who did everything to the best of their abilities - they were as complete as players, students and people as they could possibly be."

gPrep: Is there pressure on you to win again?

Coach Thurow: "Probably self-induced, I have a problem some times with being a little too competitive and that puts pressure on. But real coaching pressure is needing to win to keep your job, fortunately I don't have that problem at Minnehaha Academy."

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

Coach Thurow: "Our Boy's Head Coach Lance Johnson, who was previously the Girl's Head Coach, told me when I took over for him to look at the box scores. He said in Girl's Basketball, virtually every team who scored in the 60's or higher won nearly every game. From that, I've always tried to play up-tempo, press and shoot a lot of threes to play that high scoring style. Its a fun style of play for our kids and it has proven to win more often than not."

gPrep: Who’s your mentor?

Coach Thurow: "That's kind of funny, I was definitely more of a baseball guy - so my favorite coaches come from that sport - I don't really have a basketball coaching mentor. My favorite coach, who motivated me to play my best was a guy by the name of John Helwig. He was my Legion baseball coach at Sauk Prairie HS in Wisconsin. He just had a way of getting the best out of us. He had expectations that he demanded that you play up to, he had integrity and he was a competitor who knew how to teach the game the right way. I always tell people, when I was playing Shortstop for Coach Helwig that I would not hesitate to take a grounder off my body to get an out - I would have done anything to not disappoint him. He was just great. Players will do amazing things for coaches who inspire and motivate them, I hope I'm half as good as he was. A really neat thing happened after our State Tournament win, Coach Helwig called me to congratulate me and the girls - he lives in Minnesota now and saw the whole tournament. That was big to me."







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