Skipper Girls’ Hoops: A Well-Oiled Machine Dominating The Twin Cities

Samuel Bremer, Staff Writer

Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up.” 

MHS women’s basketball superstars Ki’Ani Lockett and Desiree Ware, both ‘22, know that better than anyone. The 2020-21 season for the Tonka women was extremely successful, and the Skippers were dominant all year en route to a 13-4 conference record. The season ultimately ended in disappointment, however, as the Skippers fell in the Section Championship Game at the hands of a 61-43 defeat to the Chaska Hawks. 

“Of course, at the moment, it hurt us a lot, but that loss ultimately gave us some extra motivation,” said Lockett. “Especially for me and Desiree. It’s our senior year, so there’s no opportunity to beat them next year. We’re always thinking about that but taking it one game at a time and not focusing too far in the future.” 

For anyone who has watched a Minnetonka women’s basketball game this year, it is clear that they are more than up for the challenge of Chaska or anyone else standing between them and a state championship. 

The 2021 Skippers are off to a blistering 4-0 start, outscoring opponents by an average of fifteen points per game. There are a variety of reasons for Minnetonka’s early season success. They play fast, they are aggressive on defense and their talent is simply absurd. Above all else, though, Minnetonka’s greatness lies in their insane depth. 

“Any given night, anyone on the team can be the leading scorer, not just one person,” said Lockett. “We all know our strengths and weaknesses, but everyone out there is a good player.” 

Ware added that guard Tori McKinney, ‘24, is a player who has a big effect on the game even when she is not scoring. 

“She doesn’t really care about how many points she scores. She looks to attack on offense, moves the ball and plays great defense. She’s a really good player,” she said. 

That same thing can be said about all eighteen players on the Skippers’ roster. Every player is comfortable in almost every position, and that makes Minnetonka almost impossible to guard.

The Skippers are still improving every day, though, and Ware noted that the team is still getting better. 

“We realize what the end goal is, and we take every practice seriously in trying to achieve that,” she said.  

After this year, Lockett and Ware will start their Division 1 basketball journeys, Lockett with Creighton University and Ware with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). 

Lockett is looking forward to her opportunity with Creighton but is staying in the moment.

“Now that all my college stuff is done and official and there’s no going back, I’m focusing on each game and each practice for Minnetonka and my last high school season,” she said.

Ware is of the same mind. 

“It’s about being in the moment and not thinking about anything later on down the line. We’re still in high school, so I’m just focused on that,” she said.

All season, the Skippers have made one thing perfectly clear. Minnetonka women’s basketball is like a bull seeing red. It is big, bad and fixated on one thing. Don’t get caught in its path of destruction.