Men’s basketball leans on young core

Tyler Ackerson, Sports Editor

After losing eight varsity members from last year’s team, the team looks to grow throughout the season.

With only four returning varsity members a relatively inexperienced group has had success through their first few games. As the roster has only four seniors, their leadership has been vital in leading the seven juniors, one sophomore, and two freshmen towards a successful season.

“Our team is very different from last year. We only return four lettermen and those players were not in featured offensive roles last year,” head coach Omar Parker said. “The advantage our seniors and returner have is that they spent last season together and have a good understanding of our program, concepts and goals. They have shown exceptional leadership.”

After a two point home loss to Hazen, in which senior Kellen Birdsall led the team with 30 points, the team was able to bounce back for their first league game with a 57-48 victory over hosting Juanita. The team has been able to lean on an offense that is averaging 60 points per game to two league victories thus far.

“We pass the ball well and play unselfishly; together we should be able to get high percentage shots,” Parker said of the team’s offense.

The team has evolved over the past several months and through the season it continues to change; however, one aspect of the team has not changed; it still strives to be the toughest and closest team in every practice and game.

“Our team goals are ever evolving. It is our goal to make the most of every minute we spend together in an effort to become the best team we can,” Parker said. “It is our mission to continue to improve and play our best basketball at the end of January when playoffs begin against the best teams in the conference district and state.”

They have looked to establish a defense first mentality and Parker believes that their 13 point victory over Juanita proves that defense can win games.

“We have a clear understanding this year of our team’s defensive concepts which should be our trademark,” Parker said.