Boys basketball prepares for successful season

Early success may lead to late victory

Senior+shooting+guard+Jah+Nze+drives+into+the+paint+against+West+Orange.+The+boys+finished+with+a+63-59+win+in+their+Friday+night+matchup+against+the+team.++

Senior shooting guard Jah Nze drives into the paint against West Orange. The boys finished with a 63-59 win in their Friday night matchup against the team.

There is nothing more intense than the final moments of a basketball game. Sweat (and sometimes blood) is flowing freely. The crowd is chanting. Praying. Screaming. The tension is palpable, the mindsets are fixed, and nothing matters more than walking away from the court with a win. Varsity basketball knows that feeling well, beginning the season 4-2 with a solid team of returning players and a pocketful of close victories.

Head coach Josh Kohn attributes much of the team’s success to their mentality and chemistry on the court. 

“Practices have been intense- the team really gets along. They are all basketball junkies, these 10 guys love hoops. That’s not always the case, but all of these guys genuinely love to play. That makes it more fun for me, too.”

One of those guys is senior small forward Walker Mitchell. 

“Eight of our varsity players are returning. We have a lot of chemistry built up and we work together really well,” Mitchell said. 

Mitchell scored 14 points in a close game against Evans High School on Dec. 7. His leadership, as well as general teamwork, has played an important role this season. 

Team cohesion is important in a fast paced game like basketball. For Mitchell, improving the team centers around everyone hustling for loose balls and rebounds.

 “The more possessions we have, the better shot we have of beating the other guys,” he remarked. 

Junior Andrew Broome agrees, but wants to add extra focus on moving the ball. 

“I want to find open men on the court; it’s not all about scoring, but about providing for the teammates,” Broome said. 

Teamwork is vital to the basketball team’s success. Even with the wild success of senior shooting guard Jah Nze, who in a Friday night game against Lake Howell scored his 2,000th point and took the number one scoring position for Hagerty, it takes a team to win a game. 

Nze has been important in that aspect as well. Although he has scored over 30 points in each of his first four games, including a 44 point game against Evans on Dec. 7, he adds more to the team than just scoring power. 

“He really became a team player this year, starting in March,” Kohn said. “This was another level of work. You are seeing the fruits of his labor on the court. I can feel the guys feeding off that.”

Although the team is only six games into a long schedule, they are optimistic for a successful post-season. 

“We are good enough to make the state playoffs,” Kohn said.

Before state playoffs, the team first has to pass through the district and regional championships. Doing so is notoriously difficult, but the team appears to be confident. 

“Looking at the team I would say that we can take the district championship. I expect good things from us at the regional tournament as well,” Broome commented. “We have a chip on our shoulder when it comes to Oviedo, but I know we can beat them.”

“I think we are going to win districts. We’ve already beat Oviedo in the preseason. They’re just bad,” Mitchell commented. 

Boys basketball won the first four games of their season, but have recently lost to Olympia and West Orange, leaving their record at a solid 4-2. The boys next play Lake Nona on Monday the 13th, and are eager for another win. Tickets can be purchased at Gofan.co or by clicking here.

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