The conundrum of Brahma basketball

The boys basketball team has its bye week and does not play again until this Saturday, a full eight days after their last game, an 11 point loss to the 7-0 Churchill Chargers. The team sits at 3-5 after losing four of their last five and is tied for 5th in the unpredictable NEISD district. With this extra time, here is one final look at this year’s basketball team.

The Good:
This team is solid in many aspects of the game, but their best attribute is their three point shooting. They have numerous players that can knock down the open three, especially off of penetration.

Most of the driving comes from senior guard Kyle Murphy who takes on the responsibility of finding the open man as he averages 4.5 assists per game, most of which are kick outs from the paint to a shooter. Kyle also is the team’s best shooter as he hits just over 40 percent of the threes that he takes.

Kevin Luckey has been equally as valuable to the team because he is the spark plug, the one that can dunk it on fast breaks, the one that is undersized but always seems to get the pivotal rebound. And while Kyle is the consistent scorer, Kevin is the key to them making the playoffs. Luckey averages 14.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 1.3 spg. and the team is 5-1 when he scores 20+ points.

The quiet one of the big three is 6 foot wing Josh Rodgers. He’s as good of an on ball defender that you’ll find in the district as he averages 1.7 steals per game, he can also finish around the basket effectively with either hand. Josh can make the open three as he shoots just over 30 percent from behind the line, and he is also an adequate rebounder.

The big three have combined to score 67.7 percent of the all points for the team this season.

The other positives are much younger. Three sophomores have been thrown into the fire sooner than expected and have each been critical in the team’s success. Charles Henderson, Nate Levine, and Marshawn Sparks will be the face of team for years to come.

Lastly, their defense has the ability to give teams problems. This was shown against Johnson. The team is very quick and agile out of their 2-3 zone and can contest most shots both at the rim and on the perimeter. They have good individual defenders in their lineups, however, the test for them is communication and boxing out.

The Bad:
The basketball team has had games where they have scored 28, 40, 45, and 45. Their struggles have primarily been on the offensive end as they have played a slower pace than expected coming into the season. The slower tempo hurts them as they have to spread it out because Kevin Luckey, standing at 6’2, is their tallest player in their seven man rotation. Running essentially a 5-out set, a majority of their shots to come from outside of the paint. Not only are these significantly less efficient shots, but this play style reduces the amount of free throws attempted per game and also eliminates almost any chance at getting an extra possession with an offensive rebound. Their offense depends on their ability to push the ball on the fast break.

They are still arguably the best shooting team in the district, with only Johnson contesting them on that superlative, however their lack of ability to get easy buckets at the rim is the primary reason to why the Brahmas are last in the district in points per game with only 57.5. They continue to be a jump shooting team as they attempt over 21 3’s per game and unless you have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson type shooters, then that style will struggle at any level.

Their inexperience has also cost them winnable games. Besides Kevin, Kyle, and Josh, the remaining nine players on the roster had scored a total of 27 points on varsity basketball coming into this season. Regardless of how talented the sophomores are, they will struggle at the varsity level at times where experience necessary.

The Ending:
The team has four games remaining and needs to win three of them to have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs. Their remaining schedule is comprised of Lee, Reagan, Roosevelt, and Johnson, all of which are winnable games.

Against Churchill we saw a team on a mission, they hung with the 7-0 Chargers until Churchill went berserk from the three point line in the 3rd quarter. Now, as they come down the final stretch, the team will be required to play this well and this hard consistently in order to crack the top four. We have reached the best part of the basketball season. The part where nothing is certain, nothing is given, and every play has an impact on how the season will be remembered in the school’s history.

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