Boys basketball chases goals

Sofia Pflaumer, Staff Writer

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Boys basketball is off to a slow start this season. As their current record stands at 3-12, the team is struggling to come out on top of each game. The team’s roster consists of 15 players, four being seniors, and is led by its senior captains, Tejan Lanser, and Stephen Hill Jr.

This season, the team has struggled with team building and shooting. They have been outscored by 114 points in just the first eight games. They are also waiting for the return of a key player. Junior Donte Pope can return to play on January 20. Pope transferred from University High School in Hartford and had to sit out ten games due to CIAC rules. The team is hopeful that when Pope can play, they will be at full strength and perform better for the end of the season. [Pope has recently returned to the team and since his return has been adding some much needed height to a roster full of guards.]

Every year the team’s goal is making it to the playoffs and eventually to the championship. Captain Stephen Hill believes that it is crucial for this group of kids to have team chemistry because most players have not played together prior to the season. He thinks as their chemistry increases so will the quality of their game. “ We really want to come together as a team and make it more of a brotherhood, like a family environment, on and off the court.” Hill takes on the responsibilities as a captain and as a standout leader. Hill is someone the younger players look up to both on and off the court. He believes that it is pivotal for him to encourage his teammates, as they also do for him.

The team lost multiple seniors last season which forced the team to rebuild this season. This includes multiple freshmen seeing time on the court.

Two freshmen have stood out this season on and off the court. They have shown that they aren’t affected by the older more experienced players. Freshman Chase Petgrave and Matt Steuerwald have played every game this season. Both freshmen felt confident in their ability but hadn’t predicted that they would be playing the amount of time that they do.

Petgrave’s goal “was to at least make it up to varsity bench and see a couple minutes towards the end of the season. I get more minutes than I thought I would as a freshman.”

Matt Steuerwald feels the same way. They both agreed that basketball at the high school level is a quicker pace and is more physical. However, playing AAU has prepared them both. It can be beneficial for future seasons to incorporate younger players on the court this year. Young players are able to gain experience and find their weaknesses early, leading to more successful seasons.

The team understands that you can’t have good performance without working hard at practice. “What you put into practice is what you get out of it…when you just go through the motion you won’t be able to produce during the game.” To prepare for the game they relax and stay focused on their individual goals for the game and the ultimate team goal, to win. The team doesn’t focus on any one game. They don’t worry about “rivals” or “unbeatable” teams. The team focuses on one game at a time because to them each game is their most important.

As the season continues they look forward to seeing team growth for the young players and the more experienced players as well. The Blue Dragons continue to play each game at a time with the endmost goal of making it to Mohegan Sun for the championship.

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