Varsity: Make it or break it

Boys basketball needs victories in order to make it to playoffs


Sara Abdeltawab

During the Jan. 17 game against Franklin, the first league game of the season, junior Esteban Rivera (right) is being helped back on his feet by teammates senior Jahbar Beard (left) and junior Kenyon Pierce (middle) after falling from blocking an opponent. Stagg won, 65-40.

Last year’s boys varsity basketball team won its first league championship since 2009.

Starting the season in hopes to win another league title, those hopes have now dwindled. Now merely to make the playoffs, they must go undefeated for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately for the team, that isn’t going to be an easy task.

With Bear Creek leading the SJAA conference in wins and Chavez having the same record as the Delta Kings (as of Jan. 30), the varsity team must figure out how they can finish their season with a winning record.

Instead of relying on themselves to be the only factor in trying to qualify for playoffs, they also need the help of their competitors.
“To have a shot at league and to make playoffs we need to win the rest of our games but we also need help from other schools,” junior Enekyo Sakata said. “We need someone to beat Bear Creek because their record is 5-0.”

Hoping to recover from a recent loss to Chavez, players say they are more driven than ever to defeat every team they face.

Lack of focus and good defense, non productive offense, and a loss of composure; the boys found themselves leading the game against Chavez to quickly falling behind.
“We focused on one person, Dailen Victor, instead of the whole team,” junior Kenyon Pierce said. “We were up the first half and got lazy the second, it cost us the game.”
To change the current culture the team needs to take initiative. Leadership and unselfishness are two things coach Ryan Berg preaches to his players but hasn’t been displayed lately.
“Whether it’s playing time, shots attempted, playing defense, or not playing, they need to be cheering on their teammates,” Berg said.

In order to get back to where the basketball program was a year ago the team needs to rediscover the components they had that made them a championship team: leadership and sacrifice.
Despite losing some key players that made a big impact on the varsity team from last year, the team has some returning players and has improved on some things.

“This year’s chemistry is a lot better since we are pretty close with each other,” senior Kaleb Carter said. The 6’6” center, Carter, says how the team’s work ethic needs to improve in order to end the season on a positive note.

“We have to word harder since we lost a couple guys from last year and we have a few seniors that need to step up,” Carter said. “We need to come together as one for the rest of league.”
Having the utmost confidence in their abilities senior Richard Aguirre believes their hard work and dedication will get them to where want to be.
At the beginning of the season the team as a whole set a goal. In order to achieve that goal Aguirre says everyone needs to play their role on the team, from sitting on the bench to dropping 20-plus points a game.

“Our goal is to win the league championship and go far in the playoffs,” Aguirre said.

Putting all his trust in his teammates and coaching staff Aguirre is certain they will make a good run in playoffs.
Learning from their mistakes from the Bear Creek game they choose to take that loss as a learning experience and motivation to win more games.