It's the second half, and the boys' JV basketball team (3-7) is just starting to get in rhythm. But only getting energized towards the end of the game is normal for the team, as they have three buzzer beating wins so far this season, and have made a name for themselves as a comeback team when they have won.
Freshman co-captain Danny Canary agrees with his coach and believes that more commitment in practice will lead to better play in the first half.
Turnovers have also killed the team so far this season. The inability to keep a lead or not turn over the ball is a result of the inexperience on the team.
The team has managed late-game rallies in the games they have won, which Charles accredits to their camaraderie.
Most of the team played together during both the summer and the fall, creating a chemistry where the players play well on the court and are friends off of it.
The connections on the court have inspired Canary to lift his teammates up when they have needed him the most. Canary has loved the feeling of carrying the team with his two last-second shots which have helped the team win games.
"It's an exhilarating feeling, probably one of the best in my life. Getting jumped on by teammates and everything. And it's always good to get a good win," Canary says.
While the team has struggled to win games this season, they are confident that they have the skills to turn it around. "We definitely have a chance of winning these final three games," Charles says. "In practice we've been simulating pressure situations so we can learn how to close a game." Canary believes that the team has potential. "We're only getting better as time goes by," Canary says.
The girls' JV basketball team (8-2) has had a strong year so far that has been led by their strong defensive mentality. The girls ‘team's defense is their strength according to Coach Kirk Simms. The team has a tenacious defense that Simms stresses is the key to success.
Simms, in his first year at Blair after coaching for ten years at Argyle Middle School, has already instilled a great defensive mindset in the players, explains sophomore co-captain Annie Pietanza.
The team does many defensive drills in practice as they work on responsibilities for defense and how to communicate effectively to prevent defensive holes, informs Pietanza. But the team's outside shooting isn't up to par yet, Simms believes. The team has been working on their shooting in practice regularly, says Pietanza, but Simms believes it isn't easy to sharpen these skills so rapidly. "They are starting to improve, but they're still in the developmental stage. Still learning fundamentals," Simms says.
Yet this weakness hasn't affected the team as much as one would expect. The majority of the team's wins have been blowouts thus far with winning margins of 44 points, 39 points and even a whopping 53 point win against Paint Branch on January 20. While the defense is without doubt the team's strength, their offense has gotten stronger as the season has progressed.
Due to the fact that the girls are still getting down the basics, Simms balances his focus between winning and preparing the girls for the varsity level of competition. Simms expects his whole starting lineup, which consists of four sophomores and one freshman, to be on varsity by next year and possibly by the end of this year.
With three games left the girls expect to close out the season strong and then continue this defensive mentality when they are promoted to the varsity team.
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