Back with a vengeance

By Carli Striker & Tiffany Zhang
managing sports & pulse

For most high school teams their goal is to win districts. However, for this senior class districts has eluded them for all four years. But this year the boys are planning to change that. With all of the starters returning, the team is hoping to improve on last year’s record of 4-16, and winning districts is one of their main goals.

“I think we’ll be a lot better than last year and have a bigger chance of winning our district,” senior shooting guard Sean Cushman said.

Senior power forward Brandon Bowser has high hopes for the team as well.

“We’re expecting a lot this year, since we got some experienced guys on the team,” he said. “We’re expecting a winning record as well as the district title.”

To help them achieve this, the pre-season training has been more intense than it has in previous years. The training began in the spring with scrimmages and continued into the early summer with a tournament in Illinois. Similar to previous years the team has also participated in leagues in Flint during the summer

“We’ve done a lot more to prepare than last years,” Cushman said.

In addition to these games, the boys have intensified their workouts.

Open shoots have taken place during a majority of the fall for players planning to try out for the team. JV football coach, Lee Meitler, has been conditioning the team a month prior to tryouts. These conditioning sessions include weight lifting, agility training and scrimmages.

“We’ve been putting in the work so I feel like we should have a team to contend in the valley this year,” senior shooting guard Blake Appell said

Bowser agrees that the preseason work outs being harder than previous years.

“Coach Meitler has been getting us in the weight room,” Bowser said. “We’re trying to get bigger and faster and stronger because we’re undersized and that’s what our team needs.”

While they may lack in size, their chemistry and friendships may be a factor that can help make up for it.

“[Team chemistry is] definitely stronger this year because we’ve had a year to play together and we’ve been playing all summer,” senior center BJ Calhoon said.

According to some team members one of the reasons their friendships are so strong is because the core of the team has been playing together since 5th grade. In addition to this, the team has been considered “young” in the past few years, and the team has been able to grow together.

“Since we have all five starters, we’ve gained a lot of experience,” Cushman said. “We’ve been a young team for the past couple years so we’ve been able to build up a lot of experience which will help us a lot this year.”

Even though they have good team chemistry, the players recognize that with many strong players there will be a lot of competition for playing time.

“There’s a lot more competition amongst the team for playing time and spots,” Bowser said. “So kids are going to be fighting hard in practice just so they’ll be able to play in the game.”

This past year, the boys did not do as well as they would have hoped and did not end up winning districts.

“Everyone’s going to be trying harder to get wins and we want to show everybody that this year we’re here to play and just outwork everybody pretty much,” Bowser said.

To do this, the team is looking to avoid mistakes they have made in the past seasons. The team recognizes what they need to work on, and players are working hard to achieve their goal of a winning record.

“We know what mistakes we made and we know what we need to do to fix it, so I think that’s what most of the practices will be revolved around,” Appell said.

Bowser also knows what it will take to get back on top.

“We learned a lot about our team and what we’re good at,” he said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well last year so that’s something we’re going to have to improve this year. And since we’re smaller, we’re going to have to be a lot scrappier than other teams, so we’re going to work hard at working harder.”

With these factors, the boys of the varsity basketball team hope to accomplish their goals this season to end their senior year strong.

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