SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Roosevelt boys have won back-to-back Class AA State Basketball Championships, including going a perfect 24-0 on their way to the title last season. But as the Rough Riders begin their quest for a three-peat, they’ll have to do so with an almost brand new roster.

Having a brand new roster isn’t new territory for Roosevelt, as they had to replace 4 starters from their 2021 championship team last season. But having to replace 10 seniors from a year ago is no easy task.

“This team is more, hey we got some new guys, mixing in with some returners, so they’re kind of figuring out how to play together,” Head Coach Mitch Begeman said.

While the team will look different, it got a first hand look at what a state championship team looks like.

“We practiced with those guys everyday. We competed with them. I feel like we have the team chemistry and the team awareness to do something this year,” Radel said.

The Rough Riders will be both inexperienced and young, with just three seniors on the roster.

“You play a season for a reason. If you take some lumps early, kids can learn from that. Obviously you want to play your best basketball in March, and that’s our goal,” Begeman said.

This Rough Rider group is anxious to prove itself.

“We’re very excited. We have a little chip on our shoulders because obviously we lost a lot of players. So we’re excited to show who we are as a team and what we can do,” Senior Jack Radel said.

And will look to keep Roosevelt’s reign atop AA going for another season.

“Obviously they want to continue what we’ve done in the last two years. Again, it’s a long season, you’ve got to do a lot of the right things, and this group is off to a great start,” Begeman said.

Roosevelt enters the year having won 35 straight games dating back to the 2020-21 season. They’ll look to make it 36 in a row in their season opener against Jefferson on December 10.