This year, the Legacy boys basketball team starts the season as one of the favorites in the West, which is different from year’s past. This change signifies that head coach Jason Horner is close to accomplishing his goal when came to Legacy: To build a program.
When Horner took over Legacy in 2015, he wanted a challenge.
“An opportunity you can’t pass up to start your own program and build it from scratch and make it your own,” Horner said. “How many coaches can say that they can do that?”
But the challenge brought a little more than the state championship-winning coach expected.
“Getting that culture built as been the biggest challenge so far,” Horner said. “I feel like we are getting there. I feel like the kids have been really good about working hard and buying in.”
In Legacy’s first season, the team went 4-14.
“Our first varsity game,” Horner said, “we were able to walk away with a victory. We didn’t have any seniors and I didn’t know what to expect. I just honestly wanted to keep it close.”
The next two seasons they had a record of 9-9 and last year the Sabers finished 10-10 and qualified for the program’s first-ever state tournament.
“Last year,” senior Rhett Clements said, “we showed people that we are not here to be called the new school or the little brother. That we can do something and that we can do something with our team.”
Legacy finished sixth, which is their best finish in school history. Coach Horner feels making the state tournament was a moment for the program.
“Being able to knock off a team like Minot to go to State,” Horner said. “That experience we had for those kids, that’s something that can never be taken away.”
Coach Horner still feels Legacy needs to grow and he knows the next step.
“When are players are leading instead of the coaches leading,” Horner said. “Which is a really hard thing for kids to lead their friends and demand from their friends, but the best programs and the best programs I’ve coached are player-led teams.”
Legacy’s next game is Friday at home against Watford City.