SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Lincoln boys won just five games a year ago, but with most the roster back plus a wave of young talent making its way to varsity, the Patriots enter the year ranked 4th in the prep media preseason poll.

The Lincoln boys basketball team enters the winter coming off a tough season a year ago

“We kind of had a rough year, the kids played hard though don’t get me wrong. We didn’t get very many wins but we also didn’t get blown out by many teams either. We played hard, we just couldn’t find ways to finish games,” Lincoln Head Coach Jeff Halseth said.

“It felt like we were always kind of close to putting together a really good team because there were glimpses of really good basketball being played, even when we were loosing,” Lincoln Senior forward Caleb Hiatt said.

The do return some talent including the team MVP a season ago Khalil Cisse and the Patriots may also be the biggest team in the entire state.

“We will have some size. We have size, we have athleticsm, we’ve got scorers, we’ve got depth, we’ve got guys that will come off the bench to help us out, so we’re going to get after teams the best we can,” Halseth said.

Caleb Hiatt goes 6’5, Cameron Jackson stands 6’8 and sophomore JT Rock towers at 7 foot

“Just a kid that absolutely loves the game of basketball. Every morning or every night he’ll text me and ask if he can come early in the morning to get some shots up,” Halseth said of his center. “He does it all the time he just loves and breathes basketball right now.”

With the players in place to do it, the goal this season is simple

“It’s our number one goal and the guys know that my number one goal is always to get our teams to the state tournament. Whatever happens after we get there is just gravy,” Halseth said.

The 4th-ranked Patriots meet 3rd ranked Washington in their season opener Friday night. Tip-off is set for 7:00.