Coming off a state championship in 2018-2019 and a coaching change, the Brandon Valley Lynx appeared to be set to rebuild. That wasn't going to happen under Mara Schaap and Hannah Behrens' watch.

The Mike Zerr era is underway for Brandon Valley. Zerr took over for long-time head coach Mark Stadem following a state championship season. With multiple players graduating, the Lynx looked to lean on two seniors to help lead the way and help the growth of the program.

It was a rough start for Brandon Valley in the early part of the regular season. The Lynx lost three of the first four games they played, and they sat 5-8 heading into the final stretch of the regular season. Brandon Valley went on to win six of the last seven games and that includes a win over one of the top teams in Class A in St. Thomas More to end the season. Brandon entered the SoDak16 with an 11-9 overall record and the seventh overall seed.

In the SoDak16, the Lynx took down one of the hottest teams entering postseason play in Aberdeen Central 52-45. The win set up Brandon Valley to play Rapid City Stevens in the first round of the Class AA tournament.

Leading the turnaround was Mara Schaap and Hannah Behrens. The only two seniors on the roster helped Coach Zerr establish the culture of the team and set the tone for the future.

"I could not ask or be more thankful for two leaders and tone setters like Hannah and Mara in our program as a first-year coach. The two of them play off of each other, with Mara more laid back, and Hannah more vocal and intense. When I took over for Coach Stadem last spring, I was able to sit down and meet with them and I challenged them to make this team theirs. They took that challenge and ran with it further than I could have possibly imagined. They created a culture in their locker room that is way bigger than basketball, full of players that care about each other and are each other’s biggest fans. They are great friends who have spent their whole lives together on the basketball floor and that friendship permeated our entire team. We will miss them dearly, but their legacy will be felt in how people in our program treat one another and how we play as a team for YEARS to come." - Mike Zerr, Brandon Valley Head Coach

#20 Mara Schaap, G

  • Three-year varsity player for Brandon Valley
  • Averaged 6.0 points/game, 1.8 rebounds/game, 1.7 assists/game, and one steal/game. Shot 76% from the free-throw line this year.
  • College: University of South Dakota (Academics)

"Mara is as confident as they come on the floor - there is no moment that is too big for her - and she carries herself with a swagger that only point guards can have on the floor. She has elite vision and awareness. Our team needed an offensive catalyst this year - someone they could lean on when times got tough - and Mara was at her best, handling pressure and hitting big shots when the game was on the line." - Coach Zerr

#40 Hannah Behrens, F

  • Three-year varsity player for Brandon Valley
  • Averaged: 8.7 points/game, 6.7 rebounds/game. Shot 52% from the field this season and also averaged one block per game.
  • Earned honorable mentions on both All-Metro and All-ESD conference teams.
  • College: Dakota Wesleyan (Basketball)

"Hannah is as physical of a player that I’ve coached. She is always the hardest worker in the gym. We talk about post players having a presence in the paint and I think Hannah absolutely has that. She is the heart and soul of our team defensively. Great defense starts with communication, and Hannah is the most vocal player on the floor always, setting the tone for those around her." - Coach Zerr

Congratulations to both Mara and Hannah for great high school careers at Brandon Valley!

In conjunction with Scott Van Pelt's Senior Spotlight, each day ESPN 99.1 will highlight our local seniors for their accomplishments on the court throughout their careers.

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