MVP to manager: boy’s basketball makes moves

Kade Ecker, Staff Writer

As boy’s basketball wraps up this season, multiple players managed to land spots on the KingCo 3A All-League Selections and dominate against their opponents. These awards acknowledge the hard work that the players put in throughout the season, having selections such as Most Valuable Player (MVP), Defensive Player, Coach, and Team Sportsmanship of the Year. 

Winning MVP of the year, Liberty’s Ryan “Buddy” Gallagher leads the team on and off the court. 

“I think the biggest contributing factor to this award was my coaching staff and teammates. They make it so easy for me to just play how I want to play,” said Gallagher.

With an impressive record this season of 15-8 overall and 9-5 in District, the team has worked hard to stay connected and build up the skills of their unique players.

“Our biggest strength this year is how united we are. We all really like each other,” freshman Jackson Whitaker said.

Whitaker attributes one of his major influences and sources of skillbuilding to be Gallagher. Upperclassmen, such as Gallagher, demonstrate strong leadership and team building skills, bringing everyone together as one unit. Whitaker, who earned a KingCo Honorable Mention, highly looks up to the older players on the team. 

As one of the few seniors on the team, Gallagher is the leading scorer and has been playing varsity for the last three years. He claims that the biggest change this season in his playstyle is how he controls the game. 

“I try to make a lot more plays happen and better myself and my team on the floor,” Gallagher said. 

But it’s not just the players that made this season so successful. The manager of the team, senior Marcus Clement, spends 16 hours, if not more, of each week with the team. As the head manager of the team, he acts as role model for the other managers and attends every practice and all of the film sessions, where the players review game footage and discuss ways to improve. 

“I help the guys as much as possible and try to think of being a team player. I just do whatever I can to help the team, from running the score clock to filling up water bottles and just cheering them on,” Clement said.

One of the biggest components to a strong basketball team is the team spirit that the players and managers on the bench can provide. The strength of the spirit is a reliable determiner of success.

 “If we’re going into a game really hyped and into it, it definitely affects how we play. If we’re not as spirited… we’re going to come out flat,” Clement said.

But the team has been anything but low spirited this season. Their games are loud and energetic, and the players show up to each match confident and ready to beat their opponents. They start each game with a team huddle to get their spirits up, and every time the buzzer sounds, it’s certain that the team will be cheering proudly from the bench. Managers, teammates, and fans all pull together to encourage and hype up the players during games. 

This year, the team made it to the playoffs. The difficult battle to reach this opportunity would not have been possible without a team of strong leaders and an encouraging bench.

“I think we shocked a lot of people. I don’t think they thought that we were gonna be good. We are,” Whitaker said.