Let’s wind the clocks back to the end of February last year. The Boys varsity basketball just came off a 3-21 season. A season before last year’s, the record wasn’t that much better. Back in the present, the team is currently 11-3. The one player that has experienced this dramatic change firsthand is Hiawatha D., a third year varsity player and the captain of the team.
“Last year, we messed around a lot in the locker room,” said Hiawatha as he sat opposite me in my dorm room. “We weren’t mentally prepared for the games at all and team chemistry wasn’t really there.” I told him about how I attended varsity games last year and saw the lack of so- called “killer instinct” on court, the attitude that seemed to be present this season. “I have to admit, I didn’t try my hardest last year in practice,” he continued, “the overall work ethic wasn’t as strong as this year’s.” The most damaging aspect of last year’s team, Hiawatha elaborated, was the commitment to the team. Halfway through last season, some players decided to leave the team, for whatever reason they had. Losing players will always have the biggest impact on the integrity of the team itself. Maybe the 3-21 sparked something, somewhat of an inner “fire,” that brought upon the improvement all of us are witnessing this year.
This year, when the Boys varsity came out, they came with an attitude. “Everyone got tougher and stronger over the off-season,” Hiawatha stated. Teamwork, team chemistry and confidence have improved significantly. The guards, which include Hiawatha himself and others such as Harrison H., have been shooting the ball much better than last year. When the shot is not there for them they could rely on the frontcourt, with players such as Sean J., Howard X. and Ryan H. for scoring opportunities. This new team’s ability to score has improved with the combination of perimeter shots and points from the paint. “Everyone is more focused in the locker room, we do mess around sometimes, but not too much to distract us from the task at hand.” “Coach Pratt has gotten meaner and Coach Meyers is more positive than last year,” he chuckled. Most importantly, everyone who was on the team last year came back to play. “I’ve personally gotten more mature as a player and as a leader. Hopefully, I can help the team improve even more,” Hiawatha concluded.
From 3-21 to 11-3 record, from 12.5 % to 79% winning percentage, while ranked 7th in state among all 3A schools. If there was one word to describe what the 2012-2013 Boys Varsity basketball team is better at than the 2011-2012 team, it would be: winning, the ultimate goal of every sports team.