By Cole Parkinson
It’s been more than a successful sporting season for Barnwell Trojan teams in the 2021-22 season.
After collecting boys and girls volleyball zone banners in the fall, the basketball teams followed suit in early March with another pair of Zone banners.
“I am very proud of both teams,” said Aaron Edlund, Barnwell School’s athletic director. “During a second season in a row marred with COVID-19 challenges, both teams battled through some adversity and played some great basketball. I really think this season’s success was built on last year’s perseverance. Our teams played a total of zero games last year, yet they still practiced three times a week all season long. I am certain that that hard work is what set the foundation for this year’s success.”
Looking back at the Lady Trojan’s season, it was no wonder the team was able to end the season with gold around their necks. The team only lost a total of three games all season and they all came against much bigger schools. With a successful regular season transitioning into an even more successful final tournament, the coaching staff for the Lady Trojans was about as ecstatic as they could be.
“We really pushed these girls into playing some tough teams,” said Anderson. “We always play in great tournaments and were able to pick up some exhibition games against top teams like LCI and Raymond. I think those games really helped us get ready for zones,” explained coach Matt Anderson.
When the team arrived on the scene for 2J Zones, they were all business and it showed on the scoreboard. When all was said and done, the Lady Trojans had outscored their opponents by a massive margin of 192-61 over three games. And in the final, Barnwell was able to gain another big lead and hold on for a dominant 61-26 Mountain View. The coaching staff credits the entire roster for their dedication and commitment to playing hard each and every practice and game. They also realize they will be losing a number of players come next basketball season, but that won’t deter returning players from the belief they can repeat. The Trojans are set to graduate four grade 9s in Lund, Hudson, Edlund and Maddy Nielsen while the team will see Alyah Erickson, Lily Dunlop, Ashley Rasmussen, Yoseline Rios, Sadee Porter and Kaia Anderson return.
“It helps when Reese Lund and Jayla Hudson have their best game of the season in the final game,” said Anderson. “And of course, nobody has a Lauren Edlund. She absolutely dominates out there. We hope to be back at zones again next year.”
Likewise, the boys team were no slouches on the court either. But unlike the Lady Trojans, the team was full of Grade 9 players. With a veteran roster, the team was able to punch up against bigger schools all season long.
“Usually our Tier 1 team consists of both Grade 8s and 9s, and even occasionally an outstanding seventh-grader,” said Edlund.
The team had a rivalry all season long with Raymond and after the end of the regular season, Raymond was ranked the number school in 4J Zones. The Trojans did take two of three games over Raymond in the regular season and thanks to their outstanding roster, they opted to make the jump up to 3J Zones. The team then hit the road to Claresholm for 3J Zones and they eventually found themselves in the final against St. Mary’s. Like the Lady Trojans, the Trojans weren’t messing around once they saw their chances at gold and the game would end in a 97-29 victory in favour of Barnwell.
“We’ve had some pretty strong boys teams in the past 10 years and this one ranks right up there,” said coach Talen Jensen. “Jess Nielsen, Dane Jensen, and Benson Leishman have good size and play great around the basket. Dane DenHollander, Josh Heide, and Brady Jensen shoot the ball well, and Gideon Rasmussen, Elias Cooper, and Brandon Johnson are excellent all-around players. But the straw that stirs the whole drink is Talen Jensen. Talen has been our leader all year long. When he is on his game, we couldn’t be beat. Talen is a special talent and I expect him to be making headlines for years to come.”