Boys basketball looks forward to attending state playoffs

The Jaguar basketball team is rolling past opponents as they continue their fast start to their season. While maintaining a record of 17-6 overall they have racked up 4 district wins and 0 losses.

Zach Keller was the team’s leading scorer last season, but Sophomore Kendall Dow and Junior Shane Johnson have picked up the slack and both have put up excellent performance game in and game out, and the Jags have been able to obtain a record better halfway through the year than last season.

 “ Yeah the Seniors that we lost last year played a big role for sure, losing Zach really hurt, but I think we’re doing great even though he’s gone, ” Sophomore guard David Payne said.

When the Jags took on their arch rivals in the Reagan Rattlers and the Antonian apaches for the second time this season it was not Dow nor Johnson who lead them to victory, but Joseph Taylor with 20+ point in both showings.

“ Johnson’s Joseph Taylor had 25 points in a 91-87 double-overtime win vs. then-No. 3 Antonian and 20 points in a 68-50 victory vs. No. 10 Reagan,” reporter Terrance Thomas states.

The varsity squad consists of 16 members in which 10 of those are seniors. The seniors experience and leadership is apparent and helps the team finish out games.

“ The seniors are definitely more composed because of their experience, when it’s late in games coach doesn’t have to worry about putting one of them in, they come in and finish out the game,” Payne said.

“We can finish perfect if we stay healthy and keep our focus on the game we have next not worrying about the playoffs yet, we’re undefeated in district so it’s looking pretty good,” Payne said.

With only 10 games left in the season they are currently undefeated in district play, but havent played the Madison Mavericks.

“ All of the games we have left aren’t going to be easy but we only have like 10 games left, last year our only district losses were to madison so we might struggle in those two games but those games are just a different type of environment that’s rowdy,” Payne said.

With the new system in place it’s more of a team effort compared to the past, now everyone has to do their part and not relying on one player for all scoring.

“I’m probably averaging like 8 points, but I think Kendall and Shane are averaging more than 10 points,” Payne said.

The Jags have a record of 18-6 however they haven’t had their success handed to them, they had to beat a tough antonian team that is stacked with talent twice.

“G ramos from antonian is definitely the best player we’ve played, he had an insane game, we just stayed calm and we just didn’t worry about the score we tried to get in as many points and running up the scoreboard,” Payne said.

The Jags may not be the most flashy, or the biggest, most athletic team, but they work around that and they could give top teams a run for their money.

“Just working together and our shooting is our strength, we’re not the biggest or strongest but since play well together we make up for what we lose in size,” Payne said.

On game days the team doesn’t skip a beat they continue to prepare for the game no matter the competition, the walkthroughs the team goes through before they leave for their game may be the key to their success.

“Coach likes to have the jv team to give us a glimpse at what we’re going up against so they’ll run the defense we will play against which really helps,” Payne said.

Due to their recent success the question everyone will be asking is if they can keep up this energy through the rest of the season.

“We can finish perfect if we stay healthy and keep our focus on the game we have next not worrying about the playoffs yet, we’re undefeated in district so it’s looking pretty good,” Payne said.

Their friendship and bonds together can not be left unnoticed, though they spend weekends getting closer and it all started in the summer as soon as they got to work.

“We’re pretty close to each other this year and that really helped us come back this season, ” Payne said.

In recent years the basketball team has not done to hot in the playoffs , but that ends this year as the jags are setting the bar high with expectations to win state.

“It has been tough in the past few years just because the teams are a lot better come playoffs, but we’re ready this year. We can go to state if we keep up what we’re doing,” Payne said.

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