BYRON, Minn. - This winter has been difficult for athletes across Minnesota but now they’re finally able to enjoy the game they love. Practices began on Monday and games are allowed to begin on January 14.
Byron hopes to build off the potential it showed last season and the players are ecstatic to be back in the gym.
“It’s been really exciting. I think we’re all kind of missing not having basketball season. It’s such a family sport,” Jakob Braaten said.
Over the last month or so, the Bears have been utilizing virtual practices to prepare for the start of the season. A few days into practice, the team is noticing how those workouts paid off. However, Braaten says nothing compares to time in the gym.
“It (the virtual workouts) helped speed it up a little but it didn’t get us all the way back to the full feel. The most significant (area of improvement) was definitely conditioning. I don’t think any of us really conditioned that well,” he said.
The Bears return a core group of senior talent this season that wants nothing more than to make this the year Byron brings home a state championship. But, as all coaches say, you have to trust the process. The first step is having a strong outing in the Hiawatha Valley League.
Easton Hulke says the team is more than capable.
“We did a lot of work during the offseason,” he said. “A lot of our guys played AAU during the summer and almost all of us did stuff during the summer, so we improved a lot from last year and I think we’ll get there.”
“It’s going to take hard work for sure. We’re all going to have to work our hardest and condition well,” Braaten added.
Byron is scheduled to open the season on January 14 at Rochester Lourdes.