Dakota Valley Panthers wanted to defend their State “A” Basketball title for “Big Rosie”
Randy Rosenquist, Jr. and teammates wanted to win for his dad
N. SIOUX CITY, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The Dakota Valley boys just made it 53 straight wins and back to back State “A” titles. And while they have 2 of the best players in the state and plenty of talent, they also had one more thing that made them extremely hard to beat.
Randy Rosenquist Jr. played with a heavy heart when his dad, who played at USD and starred at Sioux City Heelan, suffered a stroke.
But it also motivated Randy and his teammates to win it for “Big Rosie”. Photojournalist Sam Tastad talked with the Panthers after they secured the win and were full of joy on several levels.
”When that last buzzer sound, all the relief came out of my body and I let it out. Teammates, fans, everybody. It’s a great feeling,” said Dakota Valley senior Randy Rosenquist.
“He was more emotional these last three weeks than I’ve ever seen for obvious reasons. His grandma passed away this week as well. They were a tight knit family,” said Dakota Valley head coach Jason Kleis.
“I played with a chip on my shoulder the last few games, and I knew he wanted me to keep going, keep playing, keep pushing. So that’s what I did,” said Randy.
“If there is one person that doesn’t love Randy, I’ll be shocked. He’s a special dude. He showed it tonight when we needed it,” said Kleis. “For Randy, Jr., it means a lot. “His dad I mean, he’s a great dad. Super supportive and I stopped at hospital Thursday morning, talked to him before he left and told him we were going to go get one for him,” said Kleis.
“It’s pretty cool. I know it means a lot to Randy, and his dad back home and it’s the least we can do,” said Dakota Valley senior Isaac Bruns.
“I played against his dad. His dad has been a big supporter of our program, and he’s still not doing great, but he’s doing better. We’re praying for him every day,” said Kleis.
“Getting there. We check on him every day and make sure to check on him, talk about it. Slowly he’s getting there,” said Randy. “I have grown up watching basketball, playing basketball with him. He’s main reason I play. It means a lot I can play for him.”
“Rosie is the man. The Rosenquists are basketball. All their kids have been ballers and gamers,” said Kleis. “Playing against Big Rosie, he was a character. He was tough. He had a lot of junior’s capabilities in terms of seeing the floor, being tough, being scrappy, shooting the ball. It was awesome playing against him,” said Kleis. “He was on some great teams and we had some great teams where I was so we had some battles and coaching his kid kind of comes full circle.” “There are signs of hope and he is doing better. We’re going back to basketball and thrilled to be able to do this and here to give him a lift,” said Kleis.
“Community has my back and I know he is watching from hospital. I played my hardest every second,” said Randy.
“Randy, if you’re listening, we did it. pretty cool,” said Kleis.
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