The Century Patriots were one game away from a third straight title in Girls’ Basketball, but the Minot Majettes had other plans. As a new season begins, it’s the opportunity to get away from it all that will have this team ready to return to the top.

Not many players get the chance to play out of state, but that’s what Century is preparing for as they open their season in Minneapolis this Friday.

“We’re going to try and figure out a lot of things,” says HC Nate Welstad. “It’s early in the year so we’re going to play a lot of bodies and definitely, our conditioning isn’t where we can go with a short bench. So everybody is going to have to contribute and we’ll learn a lot about ourselves.”

For some players, this experience will be eye-opening, especially with the high level of talent out east, but for one standout senior, it’s a chance to reconnect.

“I think, obviously, I’m so excited because I get to see some of my best friends that I haven’t seen in a long time,” says G Logan Nissley. “My season got cut short with them this summer, so just getting to play against them will be something interesting.”

The Patriots hope that this trip will put last year’s title loss behind them, a defeat that has stuck with these players all offseason.

“I feel like it’s definitely still with us all the time obviously,” says Nissley. “It’s a tough one to look back on. But I think it’s a bright thing to look at. I think we did a lot of good things in that game and a lot of good things that we can build on coming into this year. But it’s also nice that you can go back and watch and see some of the things that we need to work on.”

“It definitely changed my mindset,” says G Bergan Kinnebrew. “Got to work harder this year just to get that energy back and motivation too.”

But with a few seniors gone from a year ago, there are unknowns about how the depth will look on this roster… Coach Welstad hopes he figures it out sooner rather than later.

“Last year, we had seniors that handled a lot of things that you don’t realize until they’re gone,” says Welstad. “But I think that our younger girls, they got exposed last year, and they got playing time. We’re just going to ask them to change their role a little bit more. Do different things and just come out there and gap a few minutes. They got to make an impact when they’re out there”

The Patriots’ first game of the weekend will be against Wayzata, Minnesota, Friday night at 7 pm at Hopkins High School.