Boys Varsity Basketball Making Every Game Count

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Boys Varsity Basketball Making Every Game Count

Abby Thomas '23, Odds & Ends Editor

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The SLS Boys Varsity Basketball team has started their season off with a bang. They are currently undefeated in their FAA league and have an overall record of 7-3 between FAA and NEPSAC games.

The teams three captains, Cole Bryant ‘21, Chuck Clemons ‘20 and Gavin Greene ‘20, have been leading the team with passion and determination. 

Clemons said that he was “definitely honored” to be chosen as a captain. He also mentioned that all the players have the responsibility of “[holding themselves] accountable, and [holding] everybody else accountable as well.”

Greene added, “I know [for] other schools, the coach would just pick the captains, but we do it where the players vote for the captains, so just seeing my teammates vote for me and [seeing] that they look up to me–that gives me responsibility to lead them in the right direction.” 

When the team is led in the right direction, they balance hard work with fun. Clemons said, “The most important thing is having fun… and winning.” 

Assistant Coach Evan Downey even said, “[Basketball is] the greatest game ever created!”

In addition to strong leadership, this team has a talented squad. Rounding out the team are Sean Clemons ‘22, Justin Covington ‘22, Ethan Crawford ‘23, Lewis Cropper ‘21, Ryan Frank ‘22, Josh Harper ‘22, Fritz Laibe ‘22, Desmond Pratt ‘21, Jah’khi Washington ‘22, and managers Tigerlily Jensen ‘21, Nicole Mulleady ‘20, and Grace Wearing ‘23. 

This season, the team has weathered two injuries. At the beginning of the season, Justin Covington ‘22 suffered a wrist injury but is now back and played in Tuesday night’s game. Recently, Jah’khi Washington ‘22 hurt his knee, but he should be playing again soon. However, the team has still been able to push through and win seven of their ten games. 

Chuck Clemons ‘20 talked about how their three losses have helped them. He said, “Our three losses have come to very good teams… [and] we needed those losses in a sense because it showed us that we have a lot to work on… [and] we really just need to push forward.”

The team is learning to “take it one game at a time” as Gavin Greene ‘20 said. He added, “[We] learn from every game whether it’s a win or a loss.” 

The lessons the team are learning this year will help the team in the future. Clemons mentioned, “We have a really young team, so for us as captains, we have to make sure everyone has the same mindset.” The majority of the players are sophomores, so they still have long careers ahead of them. 

This is especially true for freshman Ethan Crawford. Ethan is the only freshman on the team, and he said, “It’s kind of cool… [and it’s] interesting for me just looking at the roster and seeing one ‘Class of 2023’… The guys treat me like they would treat anybody else.”  He continued, “I’m definitely excited… [because] I have the rest of my career.”

A lot of the players have been playing with each other for years, so they are like a family. 

Head Coach Tony Newsom commented on the fact that “the team has really good chemistry this year.”

As Crawford said, “You don’t have to [start out being] friends with [everyone] off the court. On the court, stuff happens that brings you guys together.” He added, “The team dynamic… is great this year. On the court, if somebody is on the floor, we’re helping everybody up immediately.”

Downey mentioned, “The guys really enjoy each other. They play hard and have each other’s backs. They care about each other’s success and show it with their effort and attitude.” 

The team’s greatest challenge this season is working on their offense. However, the team has a really strong defense.

Crawford said they’ve been “really slow to start the games.” But the team has worked hard to improve in this area. 

Crawford added that the team needs to be relaxed but still focused and that will help them get into the flow of the game: “When you’re having fun, you tend to start off games better.”

SLS students can also contribute to the team’s success as fans in the student section motivate the players to play harder. Crawford said that this year “our student section is great… We definitely love playing at home this year because our fans are great…and we appreciate that.” 

He happily added that “we had more fans [at the Brunswick game] than Brunswick did!” 

The audience at a game encourages the players to want to win even more, so they all come together and work hard to win.

Basketball, as Crawford said, “[is] one of the only sports that’s a lot about the team, and not just one player.”

Crawford also said, “We have a lot of fight in our team this year,” and everyone is working really hard and putting in an abundance of effort. 

The team is continuing to prosper as they play a game almost every week. Greene finished off with a thought about what basketball is all about.  “It’s just winning together and winning with your teammates, and creating those memories that’ll last.” 

Come out to the next home game on Wednesday, January 22, at 5:30 pm against Brunswick. Or come at 4:00 pm to catch the JV game and make it a double header!