TOPEKA (KSNT) – Last season, Seaman boys’ basketball’s dream came true, winning the 5A state championship game and cementing themselves in Vikings legacy.
But how does a team that won the state title last year get excited for this season? The team says every time they walk into the gym, they feel a “state championship target” on their back, which is enough to keep them fired up every game.
“Well, you know there’s going to be the pressure of always being known as the defending state champs, or the reigning state champs,” Seaman boys’ basketball head coach Craig Cox said.
But pressure makes diamonds, and walking out on the floor with a state championship ring brings some swagger.
“You have a certain amount of confidence, you feel good about yourself walking into the gym knowing you have a state title last year,” Seaman senior forward Aron Davis said. “But, it doesn’t take away that you still need to work on it.”
Down all but two leading scorers from last year, this Vikings squad could fly under the radar, which isn’t new for this team. Last year, Highland Park and Topeka West got all of the hype in the 5A tournament.
“Everybody had doubted us coming in being the eight-seed, and we just had to prove what we could do, you know,” Seaman senior guard Kaeden Bonner said. “We didn’t really play that well at the beginning of the season, but we worked around that and got better.”
“We felt like the underdogs because we weren’t mentioned as much as the other schools,” Davis said.
Coach Cox says that not having high expectations isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“With less expectations…a lot of times, if you’re seeded number one or highly seeded, there’s so much pressure that it’s hard to enjoy,” Cox said.
The Vikings return the two leading scorers from the state championship game: Bonner and Davis. Bonner has already been tearing it up, and Davis got the good-to-go from the training staff to return to practice Monday. Davis suffered an ACL tear in the summer at a basketball tournament.
“Just got cleared, just got the green light to get back to practice,” Davis said.
Seaman plays De Soto, who the Vikings beat in last season’s state championship game, at home Friday.