Boys basketball wins 6 straight to start year

Ian Wesselhoff, Multimedia Editor

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The boys basketball team is off to a flying start, winning the Thanksgiving Classic tournament at the University of Saint Francis and advancing to 6-1 since. This success right out of the gate is an indication of big things to come, says Tavari Johnson, senior.
“We know this school has had some down years, and we want to change that, starting with us,” Johnson said. “Being 4-0 was a great way to start out the season, and we want to just keep building off of that.”
On-court success is often characterized by fans as the outcome of effective scoring, but Joe Edozie, senior, believes that wins are the product of doing the dirty work.
“Coach Bayer really emphasizes a ‘one more’ mentality. Do an extra rep, dive for the ball, do the little stuff. One more of those last year and maybe we [would have] won the regional,” Edozie said.
That mention of regionals is no accident; winning it is the team’s “ultimate goal,” adds Edozie.
“We want to put numbers up on the banner. That is the only goal we want right now,” Javari Johnson, senior, said.
In order to achieve this task, there is plenty of work put in – and not all of it is on the court.
“There’s a lot of food on the table but we can’t eat any of it unless we work for it. It may be in the weight room, extra film, extra shots early in the morning or late at night,” Edozie said.
With the amount of talent this team has, it can be difficult to balance scoring among players, but they value team success over personal achievement.
“We have a lot of players that can go off for 15-20 points a game, but we’d rather score 6 and win than score 20 and lose,” J. Johnson said.
Gregg Bayer, head coach, is in his third year in the position, and since much of the current roster has already been playing for him for at least a year, the players have fully bought into his system.
“The players are familiar with our offensive and defensive concepts, which has been a big help. Seniors who have been around for 1-2 years at the varsity level have been able to be vocal leaders for our players new to the varsity level,” Bayer said.
The team has placed a strong emphasis on staying patient and working hard. As long as a player does that, they will get their chance.
“They may have not all had the role they had wanted last year, but each day in practice they prepared as if they were starters. Now that their time has come, they are ready,” Bayer said.
Details that coaches notice often aid the team in assembling a game plan, so there is always something to improve upon when working on combatting an opponent’s style of play.
“There are a lot of things that we work on in practice that we implement in games based on the different types of situations that we face. We’ve seen a lot of different offenses and defenses in the tournament that are used by other schools in our conference, which gives us a gauge on how to handle those situations better in the season,” Edozie said.
Strategies can change game-to-game, but the effort given will be a constant.
“We have a long way to go through this season, and we will play our best every second,” Sean Del Puerto, senior, said.
While the season is still young, there is reason to believe that this team can achieve something special.
“Our mentality is to run over anyone who is in our way,” T. Johnson said.