Basketball battles the ghost of Bryan Adams

In 1991 the average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.15, Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” was number one on Billboard’s top 100 songs, Terminator 2 was tearing up the box office, and Fred Hoiberg was leading Ames High to a Iowa 4A state basketball championship. Ames hasn’t reached the playoffs since, but are strong favorites to make it to Wells Fargo this year. Ames is rolling through their competition, to say the least. They were 17-2 after last Friday’s victory over Waukee, and have averaged nearly 73 points per game and held opponents to 48 points. But winning regular season games is not the ultimate concern of the team. “Our ultimate goal isn’t to win as many regular season games as possible,” senior guard Jordan Burgason said. “The goal is to win substate and go to Wells Fargo and win State.” Ames has been known this year for its high flying offense, but its stingy defense is sometimes overlooked. “I think our defense is going to be key,” junior guard Jesse Pritchard said. “ Defense wins championships.” Increased intensity is going to be a big factor in substate. “Pressure is going to be at a whole new level. Everyone wants to go to Wells Fargo in March and the pressure to succeed in doing that is great.” Burgason said. “Every practice we’re working on getting better and preparing for what really counts, a state championship.” Although Ames has lost a couple of close, disappointing games, these losses may serve them well in substate. “We learned a lot from the Lincoln game,” junior guard Bubu Palo said. “We made a lot of mental errors, but only lost by one. If we could have eliminated a few of them, we could have won the game.” Palo went on to say that those games resemble the postseason: one defensive stop or one turnover may decide the game. With all of the talent on the roster, a key component often gets overlooked. “We have great coaching,” sophomore guard Harrison Barnes said. “In a tight game, it could really help us.” Another strength of Ames is the talented bench play. “Our bench is going to be huge,” Barnes said. “The bench is always important to winning, but especially in the post season, everyone needs to play their best.” During the postseason anything is possible. An upset can happen at anytime, and if Ames can keep their focus and play to their potential, look for them to go far.