Boys basketball focuses on improvement through tournaments, stay motivated

Freshman+shooting+guard%2Fpoint+guard+Matt+Luebbert+goes+up+for+a+shot+in+a+game+against+Cole+Camp.+The+game+resulted+in+a+victory+for+Cole+Camp.+

Makayla Mais

Freshman shooting guard/point guard Matt Luebbert goes up for a shot in a game against Cole Camp. The game resulted in a victory for Cole Camp.

Makayla Mais, Editor-In-Chief

With basketball season in full bloom, the boys basketball team has been increasing the amount of playing time by playing in the Tri-County Tournament against Versailles, Blair Oaks, and California, and the Skyline Tournament against Macks Creek, Osceola, and Skyline. The boys came out of the Tri-County Tournament with losses to each team, resulting in an eighth place finish. Coming out of the Skyline Tournament with losses to each team, the final result was a sixth place finish.

  “We could’ve done a lot better,” junior power forward Wesley Carr said. “I played a little more and I feel like I played a little better.”

   “The intensity was high,” freshman point guard Logan Davis said. “Didn’t win but thought we did good.”

  “We’re a young team. We lost our games, but we stuck together and just fought,” senior center Austin McCall said. “We faced good teams and gave teams a run for their money.”

  Back-to-back tournaments come with multiple stresses such as finishing homework on time and getting plenty of sleep. Although these factors make it tough, the team finds ways to stay motivated.

  “I always like to play and I was excited to play back to back,” Carr said.

  “We just keep practicing hard and know it can only get better,” freshman point guard/shooting guard Matt Luebbert said.

  “We practice hard and know we can only improve,” Davis said.
  “I work hard at practice with my teammates we get better and focus on one game at a time,” McCall said.

  “Tournament weeks are always very motivating because you are getting to play for something other than just “that game”.  This year we did not have the outcomes we would have liked but tournament weeks are fun, because they are like “mini-seasons” in the middle of the season,” head coach Jason Ollison said.

  “Tournaments are so fast. We’re always motivated, and always preparing,” assistant coach Derald Henderson said.

   Throughout the weeks in the Tri-County Tournament and the Skyline Tournament, the team took their strengths and weaknesses into account. The team agreed that they continued to get down on themselves, had too many turnovers, and experienced a shooting slump, although defense was played well and were played with high intensity and effort.

  “I was really proud of the way that we competed against Blair Oaks and California.  We shot the ball well and I felt we showed improvements in the areas we had been working on over the break. Against Versailles, we had a small set back and really didn’t play with the same concentration level and effort level that we did the first two games of the tournament,” Ollison said. “Our ball handling and defense was improved in the Skyline Tournament. We did a fantastic job of executing the game plan in each game, however our shooting was not as good in this tournament.  We really struggled trying to score the ball and that is why we did not finish as well as we would have liked.”

  “We shot threes well, individual guarding improved, and team defense during the game against California were all strong. However, we turned the ball over, and the other teams were stronger, faster and older, which didn’t play out to our advantage,” Henderson said.

  Ollison and Henderson evaluate the things that need to be improve for future success in upcoming games against Eldon, California, Osage, Versailles, and Southern Boone.

  “We must continue to work as hard as we can at working together to defend and improving our offensive fundamentals.  It is tough going through a losing season, but we have some tough minded kids who bring it to practice everyday to improve.  That is a good sign for the direction of the program,” Ollison said.  

  “I’m proud of their effort. We’re working hard to challenge conference schools in fourth quarter, hoping to upset a game or two,” Henderson said.