The boys basketball team’s season is fully underway, and WSL league play is starting up. The Eagles play in the West Sequoia League alongside teams such as the Caruthers Blue Raiders, Fowler Redcats, Minarets Mustangs, Parlier Panthers, and the Riverdale Cowboys. After 17 games, FC stood at 11-6. Their losses came to teams ranging from Division II to Division V.
The Eagles had an opportunity to play in two different tournaments: the Dinuba Holiday tournament and the Jesse Lujan Memorial Tournament. Though playing against very talented teams from around the valley, the Eagles held strong, going 5-3 in the two tourneys combined; FC also managed to claim the consolation championship of the latter.
However, WSL play is the most important part of the season as it is the most crucial component in terms of weighing their chances to make the Division IV playoffs, the ultimate goal of the season.
Last year, the Eagles went 6-4 in league play, posting a 12-13 overall record. Unfortunately, this was not enough to qualify for D-IV playoffs, and the Eagles’ season ended abruptly.
Scott, a team captain and the Eagles’ leading scorer, is looking forward to the challenge league play presents and the opportunity to show off what the Eagles have worked for.
“I think league is going to be an exciting experience overall,” Scott said. “We had a decent preseason but I think as a team we want to take it and step further and leave our mark as WSL league champs! It’s not going to be easy, especially with facing a very good Caruthers team twice. But I think we have a pretty good feeling for the most part. We’re ready, and losing really isn’t an option anymore.”
Unfortunately, Jones sustained a fractured wrist in the game against Chowchilla High School, Jan. 15. This injury prevents him from playing at the current time, and the length of time until he returns to the court is up in the air.
Scott had a few words to say about how playing without his cousin (Jones) will effect the team.
“Playing without N’Gai is hard for our team as a whole. He is a great teammate, smart player, and gets everyone better with his energy and love for the game,” said Scott. “Personally, it’s hard because after playing every game together since 3rd grade it feels like half of me isn’t on the court. Without saying a word we know what the other is thinking and that has been a huge advantage for awhile now. We’re just hoping for a speedy recovery and hopefully he’ll be on the court again soon.”
Junior Aaron DeWolf feels that the team has a fresh, hungry feel compared to last year’s squad, and that it will help team morale.
“This year’s team plays really well together,” DeWolf said. “It was pretty tough to say goodbye to playing with the guys who graduated last year, but this year’s team has a very clear identity as to what defines it and how it operates. The on-court chemistry contributes to a certain unspeakable confidence that is very hard to find, and even harder to stop. Any team can run plays, but the ability to improvise on the fly as a unit is what really defines the special teams. League play should be a good chance for us to show that off.”
The Eagles are currently 2-0 in WSL play after a 66-48 win at home against Parlier. Their next game is in Riverdale, as they take on the Cowboys at 6:30, Jan. 28.
This writer can be reached via Twitter @Grossman_Chris.
For more information, see the Jan. 21 article, “Boys basketball sport shorts: Strathmore”