MANDAN, N.D. - After taking second in the state tournament last year, the only way the Mandan Braves seniors can go out with a bang this year is to finish one spot higher. That’s how Kennedy Harris sees things.
Harris is pretty good at playing basketball.
"It's been so fun to see her grow," said Abby Thomas, coach.
But then again, when you're raised in a basketball family, what do you expect?
"My dad was a college coach in Bottineau, North Dakota, so I grew up with the girls and went to practice every day, and always liked playing with them. So I just always had a love for the game,” says Harris. "I've been playing basketball since I was like a second grader. We started travel teams playing up at the third grade level, so I've had a ball in my hand as long as I can remember."
She's been playing for the Braves varsity team since her eighth grade year. In the words of coach Abby Thomas, they needed a point guard and she was their point guard.
"It's been really incredible to see her develop not only her offensive game where I think that's what she was used to when she was younger,” added Thomas, “was being a big offensive threat, but also now understanding that her role can be so much more on the defensive end with her quickness, that we have given her some really good tasks on the defensive end of the floor to stop the other team's best player."
For Mandan, she's one of their best players. She's already a second team All-Stater and a member of the All-WDA Team. But there's still something missing.
"Probably just to, obviously be a state champion in one of my sports, but to have fun with my team and just be successful and have our best year yet," said Harris.
And after her last season playing with the Braves, she'll move to Aberdeen to play with the Northern State Wolves.
"I'm so excited for her for that next step next year, you know. But we've talked about it several times too, before she goes onto that next step, we want to add one extra thing to her resume, and that's what we're really hoping for this year," Thomas said.
A state title would be the icing on the cake for Harris and the Braves.