SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The O’Gorman girls begin the year atop the Prep Media Basketball Poll, receiving all but one first place vote. The Knights return two starters from their state championship team, but they have plenty of holes to fill as they look to defend their title.

The O’Gorman girls found their stride at the right time a year ago, winning their final four games of the season to claim the class ‘AA’ state championship.

“We obviously were thrilled to be state champions last year and to return three key players off of that team, some kids that sat on the bench and were really important to our success with last year’s team and now moving up to varsity. We’re just trying to right now, figure out starting lineups and rotations,” O’Gorman head coach Kent Kolsrud said.

Filling the holes left behind from their three starters will be the Knights biggest challenge. Hannah Friedman and Hannah Ronsiek graduated, while Bergen Reilly is graduating at semester to prepare for his collegiate volleyball career.

“Three starters, three great kids, three great basketball players. We’ve got spots to fill, but these kids are excited about that opportunity to be able to step into roles,” Kolsrud said.

“Obviously, the three we lost had really good length and definitely really good at rebounding, so that’s going to be one thing that’s key to our game. Just always crashing the boards, being under there, getting physical and getting that ball,” O’Gorman senior Kira Mentele said.

The Knights will see some new players step into the lineup, making each game a learning opportunity.

“We have a lot of young girls coming up who maybe haven’t had as much varsity minutes, but it’s going to be, definitely those big game moments that are going to shape us,” Mentele said.

While there may be some new names on the roster, the goal remains the same.

“Our motto this year is never satisfied. We’re always working and trying to be the best. We’re kind of putting last year behind us and we’re starting fresh. We’re looking to come out and get another one,” O’Gorman junior Mahli Abdouch said.

O’Gorman is set to play Brandon Valley on Thursday in their season opener. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

You can hear more from the Knights and 18 other girls and boys basketball teams in our High School Basketball Preview Show.