by MATTHEW DAVIS
Champlin Park High School’s boys basketball team has its sights sent on going to its first state tournament since 2013.
The Rebels return key players from last year’s 19-8 squad. Ian Smith, JT Gibson and Brennan Witt are back, and they give the Rebels quality play on the floor. They will miss graduated seniors Trevor Garrison, Zach Johnson and Michael Sales.
“Our key strengths continue to be our athleticism and ability to play an intense style of basketball on both ends of the floor,” Rebels coach Mark Tuchscherer said.
Of course, they play in a Northwest Suburban Conference that has several state-caliber and/or recently state-bound teams. Eden Prairie, Stillwater, Roseville and possibly Hopkins in a tournament give the Rebels a challenging non-conference schedule too.
“The conference has been very tough for years, and this year is not any different,” Tuchscherer said.
Champlin Park’s season opens Saturday, Nov. 23, with a scrimmage at Benilde-St. Margaret’s in St. Louis Park. The Rebels will compete in the Hopkins Invitational Tournament Nov. 29 and 30, then open regular season play Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Maple Grove.