After having a successful season last year, the boys varsity basketball team hopes be one of the top contenders in the Mt. Hood conference. In order to do this they are planning to try and win five more games this year than they did last year, putting them at 20 wins for the season.
Seven seniors graduated out of the program last year, but despite the loss of some great players, there is still a strong team left, according to head coach Mike Melton. Melton expects the boys to perform really well because of the progress that was made last year as well as the strength and skill of the returning players. This, he hopes, will put them in place to be one of the top teams of the conference, building off of the progress that the team made last year.
“We made good strides last year. The key thing this year is to make progress to being a conference contender,” Melton said.
In hopes of being a conference contender the team is making some specific steps toward bettering themselves both individually and as a whole.
Senior power forward Ben Bachman hopes that the team is able to be one of the top ranking teams in the conference this year. He believes that being dedicated in practice is what will ultimately help them make it there this year. This is Bachman’s second year on varsity, so he has perspective on where the team has been and where they hope to go.
“Practice like you play; we are just gonna go as hard as we can in practice,” Bachman said.
Though the team is strong overall, there are some things that they say they will need to improve upon in order to meet their goals.
Tightening up their offensive and defensive playing is key if they want to make it to the top, as well as making sure that they are tight-knit and can play well together.
“Our team atmosphere is very mellow and calm, and we are all on the same page on the court,” junior wing Maleko Arango said.
For the team to be able to meet their goal of becoming a conference contender this year it is very important that they are able to play well against the other teams in the conference. Two of their biggest opponents are Central Catholic and Sam Barlow. Outside of the conference their biggest opponents are Clackamas, who will be joining the conference next year, and North Medford. Being able to beat these teams will not only boost morale, but also raise their status and help them make it to the conference championships.
“[As a team there is always] a lot of joking around and having fun, but we’re always going 100 percent,” Bachman said.