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Rapid City rolls out the red carpet for Lakota Nation Invitational participants

Student-athletes and coaches from schools across the region received a warm welcome from members of the Rapid City community as they arrived at The Monument event center Tuesday for the Lakota Nation Invitational.

The players were escorted into Rapid City by law enforcement and were treated to a red-carpet welcome as each team entered the event center for dinner and opening remarks.

Many of the schools have participated in LNI for years, but for the recently created Lakota Tech High School from Pine Ridge, this year’s tournament will be the first.

Casey Means is the head coach of the Lakota Tech Tatanka boys’ basketball team. He said his team is hungry and ready to go.

“It's very special to be in our second year, our first year at LNI, with the teams that we've got for the boys and girls,” said Means. “Both teams are top teams in here. So, just bringing that culture, and that back to our school and our community. Letting them know what we're about, what our goals are. What other perfect place to do it then LNI?”

The junior point- and shooting-guard for Lakota Tech is Quincy Means. He says the team wants to make a good impression in its first appearance at the tournament.

“At times, it's a lot of pressure because we want to set a high expectation for the upcoming athletes and we don't want to disappoint anybody, you know what I mean?" Means said. "Because it's our first year, people expect us to do big, so that's what we're going to do. We're going to be big and do big for everyone that supports us.”

The Lakota Tech High School boys' basketball team will play Omaha Nation on Wednesday’s challenge day and will play the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves in the first round of the tournament on Thursday.

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