Basketball Rebounds into the Winter Season

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During the winter season, Yancey Gymnasium is filled with boys and girls playing one sport: basketball. The boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams have worked extremely hard during preseason to prepare for the 2018-2019 season.

Sophomore basketball player, Paige Lyons, said, “During the preseason, the girls’ basketball team spends five days doing open gym. We also do strength and conditioning for a couple of weeks before the season officially starts.”

This year’s varsity girls’ basketball team is composed of five freshmen, three sophomores, two juniors and one senior. Senior Callie Weaver doesn’t feel as if being the only senior is a disadvantage to the team: “Though I may technically be the only senior, it feels quite the opposite. Our team is so close that it feels more like a family, so we all respect and love each other which aids to our success.” Weaver believes that the previous seniors have helped her step into this position naturally. She said, “Being a senior on this team holds a lot of weight, and I desire to lead this team with confidence like the seniors before me have done.”

Head Coach, Jan Azar, said, “I want everyone to see that these girls are really committed and work really hard. The amount of time and energy that they put in to this program and team is what makes us so good each year.”

Azar said, “Something the team needs to improve is stamina. We have to get in shape. We also have to get more experience on the court because we have several young basketball players.” In order to do this, Azar leads the team on what skills to develop during practices. Azar said, “We typically do a lot of fundamentals and running our transition break because we like to play fast. We do a lot of full court training to make sure we can outplay, outrun, and outlast another team.”

Similar to Azar, the varsity boys’ head coach, Adam Griffin also recognizes there are some challenges ahead of the season for the boys’ basketball team. He said, “We will be a bit undersized in some games, but that just gives us an opportunity to play faster and force bigger teams to play our style.”

The varsity boys’ basketball team is made up of five seniors, four juniors, five sophomores, and one freshman. Druw Jones, the only freshman in this year’s basketball team, said, “Being the only freshman is an advantage because I get to see all the guys play and see their strengths. It helps me to strengthen my game for the rest of my high school basketball career.”

The boys’ basketball team spends a sufficient amount working out and practicing after school. Griffin said, “The team prepares with good, old fashion hard work. We’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen even when we still have some kids out at football during the fall season. We get them caught up after they wrap up their season.”

Senior Stevie Crawford is looking forward to spending his last basketball season. He said, “I am really excited to play with my friends.” Crawford also mentioned that his favorite part of playing a game is “boxing out small people.” Jones said, “I’m really looking forward to stepping on the court in my first home game with our crowd supporting.”

Both teams, before each game, have a ritual before going out on the court. Lyons said, “The girls’ basketball team sings ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.” Meanwhile Crawford said, “The boys’ basketball team says the Lord’s Prayer.”

A team’s ultimate goal is to win a state championship, but both Azar and Griffin see beyond that. Azar said, “Our goals are to become a cohesive team that can work together on and off the court and become a good teammate. Being a good teammate reflects into life rather than only being someone who can make the basket.” Griffin, said, “I think our goal is the same every year, and that is to get the most out of our guys. We ask them to work hard and push themselves every day, therefore we hope they can maximize the gifts God has given them.”

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