Skip to Content

A Promise Kept: Wapsie Valley’s Risse reaches the top

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00
Kobe Risse

FAIRBANK, Iowa (KWWL) -- Wapsie Valley's Kobe Risse reached the pinnacle on Friday night. The junior helped lead the eighth seeded Warriors to an improbable class 1A championship win over Bishop Garrigan, an emotional moment not only for him, but his entire family.

"Hearing that last buzzer, it was like... wow, we did it," said Kobe.

"I just started tearing up," added Kobe's sister Hanna, "and just seeing how Kobe was again, he was just so excited. It meant a lot to our whole family."

One Risse family member wasn't in Wells Fargo Arena that night, Kobe's father Jamie, a former Wapsie athlete and assistant coach ended his battle with cancer just under 10 years ago. Before that, however, came a promise from long-time head coach Marty McKowen.

"He said that he was going to stick around and coach Kobe to Jamie, and he also stated that to me shortly after he passed away," said Kobe's mother Jessica, "so that meant the world to us because Marty has been such an influence to our family."

"I don't remember when I found out," added Kobe, "but when I heard about it, I was like, 'ok that's pretty cool.'"

Coach McKowen fulfilled the promise and helped an unranked Warrior team believe they could play with anybody. That belief, along with some inspiration from his father, helped Kobe Risse and the Warriors go somewhere they'd never been before, winning the first state basketball title in Wapsie Valley history.

"I remember my grandpa told me after the semifinal game... he was like, 'it was your dad's dream to watch you play in a state championship,' and I was like... alright, I want to win this for him."

Mark Woodley

Sports Anchor

Skip to content