A Bright Future for Mayo Boys Basketball

Jack Koestering, Staff Writer

Mayo Boys Basketball 2021-22 Season Recap

Although Mayo Boys Basketball’s 2021-2022 season had a disappointing ending, the future is bright for this group of players. The boys went 13-13 overall, and 3-6 in AAAA section 1. They opened the season with two strong wins against New Prague and John Marshall. Under the leadership of team captains, senior Makuei Riek and junor Isiah Hanson, the remainder of the season had high expectations. 

Unfortunately, key players, senior Alex Miller and senior Jay Knoepke, were injured during the Rotary tournament early in the season. With that in mind, Isaiah Hanson remembered, “We lost some games we should have won.” Younger players such as Junior Alex Gyarmaty and sophomore Sawyer Markham had to step up and fill the roles that were lost. They were able to fill some big shoes and thrived as big time offensive weapons with their scoring abilities. The team wonders how strong they would’ve been, later in the season, had Miller and Knoepke avoided injury and Gyarmaty and Markham came in as relief on the court.

In fact, the squad continued to perform well with big wins against Mankato East and Austin. However, wins and losses were common occurrences for the remainder of the season. In the first round of the Section playoffs, Mayo lost to Owatonna, ending their season prematurely. “I believe the season went pretty well. We had our ups and downs. Overall, we had a good time and we enjoyed the game of basketball together,” senior Kole Forsthoffer said. 

The conclusion of this season does not reflect the potential of the program over the next few years. Star player Isiah Hanson will be returning next year for his senior season. Along with Alex Gyarmaty and Kairee Gadson, next season’s senior class will be filled with talent. “We are in great hands for the future. We have a lot of young talent with a lot of exposure to the varsity court,” senior Michael Ellingson said. 

Besides new players on the court, this season Mayo had a new head coach, Braden Markham. He showed great trust in his playmakers and allowed many opportunities for team and individual success. They ran an offense that enabled playmakers to seize the initiative and for the team to look for opportunities that would surprise the opponents and set up someone for an easy score. In fact, Makuei Riek flourished in this setting, and it really helped the younger players fit in without having to learn a very complicated system. Next season, it can be assumed that Coach Markham will put his star players in a great position to succeed and lead the team to many wins in the future.

The takeaway from this season is that you never know what can happen at the varsity level. No matter how good you are as a team, one bite from the injury bug can put talented rosters in jeopardy. The focus for the program over the next couple years is to let our experienced players show what great basketball looks like while also continuing to develop the younger generation. 

Photos courtesy of Kevin Mann