Great expectations are being realized at Maranatha

  • Article by: RON HAGGSTROM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 19, 2013 - 8:38 PM

Maranatha kept testing itself by scheduling larger schools. So far, so good.

Garrison Gillard shoots free throughs during practice at Maranatha Academy Tuesday March, 19, 2013 in Brooklyn Park, MN. ] JERRY HOLT • jerry.holt@startribune.com

 

Maranatha opened the season as the preseason favorite of Minnesota Basketball News to win the Class 1A championship.

The lofty expectations brought out the best in the Mustangs (29-1), who open the tournament Thursday as the top seed against Mountain Lake. Their three closest regular-season games, including their only setback, were to Class 3A and 4A teams.

“Starting the season No. 1 gave us high expectations, and put a target on our back,” Mustangs senior forward Isaiah Hanson said. “We knew we had to play our best every game.”

The Mustangs’ only loss was to Class 4A Duluth East 81-78. They defeated Class 3A Minneapolis Washburn 79-73 in overtime and posted their biggest victory over Class 4A Cooper 95-93 in overtime.

“The gym was packed and our fans were loud,” Hanson said. “In a humble way, we thought we could beat them.”

Maranatha coach Jeff Wall made the Mustangs’ schedule more difficult this season. Their 12 nonconference games were all against Class 2A, 3A and 4A programs.

“The Cooper win gave us a lot of confidence early in the year,” Wall said. “Coming into the season, our athletes got together and set some pretty strong goals. We have been pleased with the results up to this point.”

The Mustangs are paced by two sets of brothers, the Hansons and Gillards. Isaiah Hanson leads the way at 17.7 points per game, followed by senior Garrison Gillard (14.2) and sophomores Jeremiah Hanson (14.1) and Grantham Gillard (11.7).

“We are very balanced offensively,” Wall said. “It’s definitely a strength for us.”

The Hanson brothers are the last of eight in the family to play under Wall at Maranatha.

“They come from a family that is passionate for basketball,” Wall said. “They help create togetherness and team play.”

The Gillards, in only their second year at the school, “both have stepped up in a positive way for us,” Wall said. “They bring another dimension offensively for us.”

As well-rounded as the team is offensively (it averages nearly 20 assists per game), Wall said, “Since the start of the season our biggest development has been on the defensive end of the court. The guys have really concentrated on that the last five weeks. There is plenty of truth to ‘defense wins championships.’ ”

  • related content

  • Jeremiah Hanson (left, with coach Jeff Wall) is one of two sets of brothers playing for Maranatha. Jeremiah and his brother, Isaiah, are joined by Garrison and Grantham Gillard.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close