Teamwork makes the dream work

Samantha Holguin and Chelsea Olewnik

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Stomping feet, clapping hands, chanting and yelling, a sea of black and white cheering on their team. Yes, it’s that time of year: basketball season!

The varsity basketball games usually generate the largest, loudest crowds. At the Prep, basketball is the sport that everyone talks about. It takes almost no time for the bleachers to fill up, to create a crowd of cheering fans hyping up their team. And with such a great record, why shouldn’t they? The varsity girls and boys teams each have a great record, with players who live and breathe the game.

Senior Anthony Santana, captain of the varsity boys basketball team, explained why he started playing the game.

“I’ve been playing my whole life, started off when I was six and played since then,” Santana said. “My parents always loved me playing sports, so I decided to play basketball and I loved it ever since, but my grandpa is my true inspiration. He died when I was young but his favorite sport was basketball.”

Basketball is such a team driven sport. The players need to depend on their teammates to play to their best ability, sticking to the plays but having to be ready to improvise without a moment’s notice. Santana explained the hardships and benefits of being with a team.

“It feels like I can depend on my team to always have my back and it’s great and when you’re on a team, they become family,” Santana said. “At some points [it gets frustrating], but that’s what sports are going to do. They get frustrating but as a team you gotta get through it and play as a team.”

This is Santana’s second year being captain at a high school level. He shared the hardest part of being captain.

“People depending on me the most,” Santana said. “And expecting big things from me.”

With all the stress, expectations, and pressure on him, Santana says it is when he does his best.

“Sometimes the pressure gets to me, but that’s when I do my best,” Santana said. “And I just play my game and just do what I do best and just play basketball.”

Being a captain would put pressure on any student, so having to equate that with his studies and personal life, Santana discussed balancing his senior year.

“It’s hard, but I get my school work done first because student comes before athlete, but it’s hard, but nothing I can’t handle,” Santana said.

Senior Anthony Santana is a captain on the basketball team.

Even though it does add stress and pressure, Santana loves the game.

“Just playing the game I love, nothing else about it,” Santana said. “It’s the place where I don’t have to worry about anything and just have some fun.”

Hannah Millage, the senior captain of the varsity girls team, has been playing since she was six, trying the game out because it looked fun.

Although she was a captain in middle school, this is her first year as a varsity captain. Millage explained that being an example for others is hard because she can’t show her frustration when she messes up.

Her senior year is full of school work, injuries, sports, and her own life outside of sports and school. Millage set her priorities up and has stuck to them.

“I just make sure that school is my first priority,” Millage said. “Then I make time to go to practices when they’re scheduled and my personal life whenever I can.”

Santana and Millage both love the game; being able to play with their team and help lead the team through their games, the victories and losses. They love the crowd and the rush of playing the game they love.

James Mould, the Smart Lab teacher, is the coach for the high school girls basketball team. He has been coaching for six years at the Prep and outside the Prep. He explained why the players make him want to coach and what his goals for each and one of them are.

“Watching the players succeed, whether it’s hustling or making a big play, watching them celebrate with each other is priceless to me,” Mould said. “My goal is for all the girls to progress each and every time when they step on the basketball court, and at the end of the season to be better than they were at the beginning.”

Having been coach for so long, Mould explained that it is still hard and that he just wants the girls to get better and enjoy the game.

Making sure everyone gets playing time in the games,” Mould said. “I want each and every girl to share in the success of the team and be able to see their hard work in practice put to use.”

While some might think it would be hard to choose captains, Mould does not think so.

“No, I select those I feel are leaders,” Mould said. “On the team both on the court, in the classrooms, and in the community.” 

At this school, basketball is the game to see. The players and coaches alike want to win, to play their best, and to give the audience something to watch. They strive to do their best, on and off the court.

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