"It's fun to be in the locker room right now."
Ranked No. 1 in Class AAA and riding a 17-game winning streak heading into the Section 1AAA playoffs, there is nothing but smiles as the Red Wing girls' basketball team leaves after another night's work. Which, in the words of Dani Deming above, should be obvious.
The Wingers have suffered just two losses, to Rochester John Marshall and Mankato West, both by three points or less, and has since beaten both teams. The Wingers have also dealt with a multitude of postponements due to weather the last three weeks. It has changed some of the players' routine, but not the preparation.
Senior Lindsay Reps says she likes to pump up the team, and has done so with music in the locker room before warm ups. Reps owns the playlist and adds submitted songs from teammates to go along with her favorites. The warmups have become much more important given the lack of practice as of late, yet the Wingers haven't missed a beat.
Senior Dani Deming said the team has gained confidence with every win during the impressive streak. Deming added the leadership of everyone has helped too.
"I feel like all of our team are leaders in a way," Deming said. "We don't really have one specific leader. ... I feel like other teams rely on that one leader and we all work together. It definitely shows. Everyone has has a different role and they do it well."
For Deming, she has done a little bit of everything. Pulling in rebounds, scoring when needed and playing shut-down defense. Reps and junior Kyli Nelson provide much of the scoring, especially from behind the arc. Junior Elle Thorson and sophomore Abi Deming are two of the Wingers main defenders, while sophomore Sydney Rahn and eighth-grader Sydnee Nelson provide energy off the bench.
As Deming pointed out, many of her teammates can fill in if needed on any given night, which makes the Wingers all the more dangerous to opposing teams heading into the playoffs.
Red Wing head coach Jesse Nelson said this year's team has played well because of the depth. The depth, which includes a rotation of nine players, is on display every game.
"I think they're so athletic and so skilled," Nelson said. "This is the deepest team as we've had."
Reps says the team has another strength, "brutal honesty."
"'We don't take it to heart," Reps said. "On the court we play to win and off the court (we're all friends), so there is no drama."
As the Wingers direct their attention to the Section 1AAA playoffs, strength in numbers and an affable group of players make this team believe they'll avenge seasons prior and go to state.