(New Buffalo, MI) - For the first time ever, perhaps, the New Buffalo High School boys’ basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class D.
Head Coach Nate Tripp said it’s “definitely a cool accomplishment,” but his players won’t be satisfied unless they bring home a state title.
A state title is the mission of defending District 4 champions with all five starters back from last season.
Tripp said many of the players last year spent time in the weight room during the off-season and sharpening their skills on the court after a disappointing loss in the first round of the regional tournament.
He pointed to players like speedsters Jeremiah Mitchell and Mark Shaw to score more points at the rim after driving the lane against opposing defenders from adding strength.
“If we don’t end the season with a celebration then we’re going to have a lot of disappointed kids in that locker room,” he said.
The No. 1 ranking came out on January 20 from MaxPreps, a nationwide database of high school sports information in every state.
Tripp credited the No. 1 ranking to his players proving themselves against high-quality opponents like Class A Sturgis, South Bend Career Academy, and an outstanding River Valley squad. The Bison have also won twice by more or close to 50 points.
The undefeated Bison defended their No. 1 ranking on the road Friday, November 21, by handily defeating No. 2 ranked Eau Claire.
“The guys are really fired up about it, but they still say none of that matters. That’s what’s really different and cool about this team. They’re very, very focused,” Tripp said.
The only state title in boys’ basketball for the Bison was in Class C in 1963.