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Hopes for Hoops

The Boys Basketball team reflects on their performance this season.

Alyah Craig and Jennavieve Carmony

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The piercing sounds coming from the cheering fans drowns out the screeches of rubber sneakers on the court with their chants, which can be heard throughout the stuffy auditorium. With this being the typical atmosphere for the Boys Basketball games, it’s easy to see why players and coaches alike take pride in what they do.

“I’m very proud of how we are progressing. We are looking forward to a great month and beyond,” coach Roger Stirtz said. “The strength of this year’s team is their desire to be good, really good. They have an intense, competitive spirit and work hard to improve.”

Teammates think this past season has gone well and with their record being nine wins to 11 losses as of Feb. 1, they agree the outcome is positive.

“We lost a lot of seniors last year and our team is young,” senior James Kinder said. “With us being young, we are gaining a lot of experience as we go through the season, and it will help us in the post-season.”

Their performance on the court is because of the practices and special bond they have formed throughout the year.

“We start with defensive drills and then we shoot and condition,” junior Jermaine Booker said. “After we run offensive drills and watch film toward the end of practice. It’s always intense and very competitive. The guys like to go at each other and it’s just a great time.”

Traditional weekly dinners help create a tight bond by bringing the team together.

“On Monday or Thursday nights before home games, a person on the team holds a dinner at his house for the team,” senior Alex Roush said. “They are always a relaxed and super fun environment. The guys are able to just talk and play video games and be with one another off the court. It really helps with our team chemistry and the ability to communicate with one another.”

The feeling of being on the court, surrounded by a cheering crowd and hopeful coaches, is one that may be foreign to many, yet remains a great experience for the players of this team.

“It’s intense. It’s more intense than people would imagine,” Booker said. “Everybody buys into the system, and we all just want to get the win. It’s a pretty cool atmosphere with the coaches, the crowd, the teammates and the student section. We have the best student section in the state and they bring it every game, so we try to bring it every game.”

With the excitement of playing and the season rapidly progressing, players are already thinking about next years’ team.

What’s one thing the athletes focus on?

“Contend for a State title and try to win as many games as possible,” Booker said. “I just want to prove it to myself. I just love to play basketball and I love to win. I can get very intense when it comes to the sport. I just have a natural inner drive.”

While players may be be looking toward the future, Stirtz has a different focus at the moment.

“I’m only concerned about this year’s team right now. I only focus on the present because that’s all we can control,” Stirtz said. “We have a brand new team this year and they are so fun to work with, compete with and spend a lot of time with. We always want to maximize our potential and be at our best when it matters the most.”

Whether they are living in the now or looking toward the future, one thing everyone on the team will agree on is that the current seniors’ absence next year will shape next year’s team.

“They’ve made a big impact on not just the team but myself as well,” Booker said. “I have a pretty good relationship with all of them, and it’s going to be different, but it’s also going to give other guys a chance to step up next year and be more vocal leaders.”

The seniors, while happy to be in their final year of high school, will miss the team and the experiences they’ve had with them on and off the court.

“I feel like I’ve influenced the team through my personality,” Roush said. “I’m a hard worker and always try to do the right thing. My biggest motivation for this year is to try and be better than last year’s team. They were very good last year, and if we could try to match that, then it’s going to be a fun year.”

 

Senior Jake Anderson

“It took me a while to get this opportunity, which has motivated me to give it my all my senior year. I’m always encouraging my teammates and helping them. Our coach expects that of us, but we want to do it anyway.”

Photo by Hannah Ollier

Teammate Alex Roush

“I’ve known Jake for a long time and he’s always been a hard worker. He puts in extra work outside of practice on his ball handling and shooting. He’s a fun guy to play with and practice against.”

Coach Roger Stirtz

“Jake is one of our better shooters and he has a great 3-point percentage. He possesses an incredible attitude, which not only makes him successful but makes everyone on the team better. Our guys look to Jake as a steady, tough, consistent competitor they want on their team.”

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Hopes for Hoops