The Anatomy of a State Champion

Class 1A State Champion - Head Coach Jim Hammond

"Defense wins championships," says Maranatha Christian Academy Head Coach Jim Hammond.



              Maranatha Mustangs focus on “D” in quest for second state title
“A championship team must play very good defense.”

* Maranatha Christian Academy Head Basketball Coach Jim Hammond says there is no pressure on him to win a second Minnesota State 1A Championship.
Meanwhile, Hammond is taking the best basketball advice he’s ever received. “Defense wins championships” says Coach Hammond. Last season, the Mustangs won their first ever state championship. “I was thanking God because I truly believe he’s the only reason we won it,” added Hammond. In the conclusion of gPrep’s four part series on the 2011 Minnesota State Champion Coaches, Hammond explains the hardest part about being a defending champion and whether he’s ever coached the “total” player”. coach jim hammond gives thanks
Coach Jim Hammond, Maranatha Christian Academy


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

Coach Hammond:"I don't know because we've never won one before, but what we experienced in our games this summer is the girls felt as if they didn't have anything to prove to anybody. A few times we were down by 6-8 points. In the past, we've always answered with intensity. Last summer we did not. I'm a little concerned."

gPrep: What will it take to repeat in March?

Coach Hammond: "It takes good defense." state champs, Maranatha Christian Academy
2011 Class 1A Champion, Maranatha Christian Academy


gPrep: Talk about the components of a championship team.

Coach Hammond:"A championship team must play very good defense. I believe they MUST have more than 1-2 three point shooters. A stable post player in the center always helps. The main thing for me is defense."

gPrep: You dropped to your knees the moment Maranatha won the championship. What was going through your mind?

Coach Hammond: "I was thanking God because I truly believe he's the only reason we won it."

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

Coach Hammond: "If we are playing a good team and they can't shoot the three, then we guard them accordingly. I believe in this day and age for girls basketball you must have more than one player on the floor that is a threat to shoot the three. If you don't have that, the good coaches will make the court much smaller for the posts and the guards that like to penetrate. There will be no room for those things."

gPrep: Describe the “perfect” team.

Coach Hammond: "DeLaSalle."

gPrep: Describe the “total” player.

Coach Hammond: "Hill Murray's Tessa Cichy."

gPrep: How many have you coached?

Coach Hammond: "I do not believe as of yet I have coached the perfect player. I do believe we have a sophomore that could attain that. Her name is Madison Lee."

gPrep: Is there pressure on you to win again?

Coach Hammond: "No."

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

Coach Hammond: "Defense wins championships."

gPrep: Who’s your mentor?

Coach Hammond: "The Maranatha boys basketball coach has over 500 victories. I spend 2 hours with him before the season begins and before I set my practice plans and goals. I would call Jeff Wall my mentor. I also have been to Brian Cosgriff's practice and learned almost more than I could write down. I watch him closely and what his teams are doing. Now that Providence is out of our conference, I'm trying to get into three of Ray Finley's practices. I have a very high amount of respect for Ray Finley and what he does."




Maranatha Christian Academy




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