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Boys basketball wraps up season

Celebrating+after+a+win%2C+the+boys+on+the+basketball+team+high-five+each+other.+The+team+finished+with+a+7-19+record+in+the+2018+season.
Celebrating after a win, the boys on the basketball team high-five each other. The team finished with a 7-19 record in the 2018 season.

Celebrating after a win, the boys on the basketball team high-five each other. The team finished with a 7-19 record in the 2018 season.

Celebrating after a win, the boys on the basketball team high-five each other. The team finished with a 7-19 record in the 2018 season.

Zaven Nalbandian, Staff Writer

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Over the past two years, the boys basketball team has been a dominant force on the court, posting a 20-6 record in 2016 and a 19-10 record in 2017. Players and fans were optimistic about the way the team looked before the 2018 season started.

“Personally, I thought the varsity group looked pretty strong. We had several returning varsity players, some talented guys coming up from JV, and guys who put in a lot of work in the offseason,” senior and power forward Jack Gieseking said.

Despite high expectations, the team finished with a 7-19 record.

“There were certainly things we did well. But there was also a mix of things that were detrimental to us, things that hindered us from achieving the goals we set at the beginning of the season,” head basketball coach John Wright said.

The class of 2018 players looked to be in good shape, as they had posted an 18-2 record as freshmen, with similar success as sophomores on junior varsity. However, the senior-led team lost to Sullivan in the first round of the district tournament.

“I was disappointed to lose so early in districts, and I felt that the coaches didn’t put in the right people for us to be successful,” Gieseking said.

Last year, the Longhorns had 12 junior basketball players, but during the offseason, five of those players decided to give up basketball, reducing the now-senior class to seven players.

“It just wasn’t fun anymore,” former player Lance Anderson said. “Overall, the varsity coaches affirmed my decision to leave the team.”

According to Gieseking, problems during the season included not having a predictable, stable group of starters. The Longhorns also almost never had the same five starters twice in a row, and players being called up from junior varsity and immediately starting over their varsity counterparts certainly created some animosity among the players, with a few players deciding to leave the team in the middle of the season.

“Our biggest struggle was playing together, getting along,” Gieseking said. “Guys made poor decisions off and on the court. There were often arguments in the locker room and we never really had a stable personnel.”

Along with this general lack of team chemistry on and off the court, the Longhorns nearly doubled their amount of turnovers compared to 2016.

“Turnovers were a big issue for us. We had the possessions we needed to score points, but we just weren’t able to convert and we ended up turning the ball over way too much,” Wright said.

During the season, the boys were put up against three of the top five Missouri teams from Chaminade, Hazelwood Central and St. Mary’s. During the eight-team Ameritime Tournament, after upsetting number four Hillsboro, the number eight Longhorns went on to be beaten by the number one Hazelwood Hawks.

“We just weren’t disciplined, and when you face tough teams, discipline is key,” junior point guard James Lovings said.

Despite all this, Wright is optimistic about next season and looks forward to the future of Longhorn basketball.

“[This season] we were able to get some younger guys some minutes on the court, a few sophomores and juniors and people who needed experience. We always encourage guys to play another sport to become better athletes. And we’re going to provide opportunities for guys to improve their game during this offseason,” Wright said.

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