by Michelle Brooks | sports editor

The girls basketball team is currently 19-10 but 4-2 in district play. The team has seen much improvement from the beginning of the season.

“We’ve had a really good season. We started off slow, but the girls have progressed and we’ve picked it up. Over the last 19 games, we’ve been 16-3, something like that. So, it’s been a pretty good season,” head coach Stephanie Desmarais said.

In contrast, the boys team has only a handful of losses with one of the better records before districts started.

“Right now, we’re 20-5, 4-0 in district. So we’re kinda at where we wanna be. You know, we got a big game tomorrow night against Reagan and obviously our goal is to make the playoffs,” head coach James Keller said.  “Once we accomplish that goal we want to try to win first in our district championship. So, we’re kinda on the right [path for] both but we know we got a lot of work to do still.”

Both teams had schedules with tougher preseason games and tournaments than previous years to improve in some of the teams’ weaknesses.

“I think the hardest the teams we have played against were the ones in our Houston tournament. They were definitely a challenge because they were a lot stronger and faster,” sophomore Deja Kelly said.

Facing more competitive teams in the preseason benefitted the team in getting them prepared for districts, which is the part of the season that determines playoff seeding.

“We had a pretty tough preseason and I really feel during that season, I really thought it would prepare us for district and it really has. This year amongst all years, we’ve really had some tough tournament games and real tough non-district teams- Steele, Wagner, Clemens. I really feel those teams really prepared us for what we face night in and night out in our district,” Keller said.

However, the transition from preseason to district play can be difficult after competing with high caliber teams.

“It’s going well. We had a tough preseason so the girls are a lot of times more fatigued compared to how they were during preseason but I think it’s because we’ve played a lot of basketball,” Desmarais said. “And then of course when districts started, we play 2 games a week so we’ve had to take a few more breaks than we normally do but, I think it has gone well. They’ve transitioned well.”

With several close contenders for the girls team, Desmarais prepares the girls with previous film to allow the girls to be aware of their opponents.

“Our tough teams in the district right now are Lee, Madison, Churchill, and you know Reagan is always a tough opponent. We just take it game by game. We kinda try to look at film,” Desmarais said. “The nice thing is we got a game Friday, it’s our last game of the first round in district so we’ll have film on all of the teams at that point and we’ll be able to review the film before we play each one of them and scout them out that way.”

Meanwhile, Keller prepares the boys as if they are playing against a top tier team to make the boys play hard every single game.

“I’ll be honest, we really just try to face every team the exact same way. Whether it be, Lee,Reagan, Mac, you know what I mean. I try to tell the guys that every game is a big game. Our biggest game now is Friday night against Reagan and after that it will be next Saturday against Madison. We really do try,” Keller said. “I know that tomorrow night there’s probably a little more added incentive because it is Reagan, but these guys have done a pretty good job of focusing on each opponent. They don’t really care who it is so that’s really what we’re trying to do, is prepare to play everybody the exact same way we’ve prepared for anyone else.”

Although they have been successful, both teams have things they aim to improve on to better their record and district run.

“I think we need to work on our leadership as a whole. Also we can work on our communication on the court, moving the ball and team defense,” Kelly said.

Both teams are prepared to tackle the second round of districts and play for the ultimate goal: state.

“Obviously we still have a few things to work on collectively, but I feel we’re very ready for playoffs,” Kelly said.

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About The Author

Michelle Brooks is a senior at Johnson High School and a second year writer for MyJagNews. Her hobbies include playing basketball and eating. Currently, her favorite basketball team is the Cleveland Cavaliers and her favorite basketball player is LBJ. Her favorite WNBA team is the Minnesota Lynx and her favorite WNBA player is Maya Moore.

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