In the thick of the school year and during the dramatic final push of league season play, boys varsity basketball clinched the Bay Counties League – Central (BCL-C) championship win and earned an automatic bid for the North Coast Section (NCS) regional tournament. Though the team didn’t quite keep pace with its first-round opponent, Head Royce School, the post-season loss did little to detract from a successful season of individual effort, hard-won team chemistry and lessons learned.
Boys varsity basketball coach Pete Overfelt, team captain James ’13 and Athletic Director Steve Glass shared their thoughts amidst the season’s critical final games – Saturday’s BCL-C championship against Gateway and Wednesday’s NCS matchup with Head Royce.
James set the stage with a recap of the season’s trajectory: “In the beginning of the season we really struggled to see how we worked together and fit together,” he said. “I think that, while we struggled early on, toward the middle of the year and definitely approaching end of league we had kind of a higher level of trust and cooperation on the court. We also trusted our coaches a lot more, so by the time we got to the playoffs, we had a system that we knew worked.”
Coach Overfelt agreed, “The season was getting better. We wanted to get better every day every game. The season was geared toward the playoffs, so once you get to the playoffs, it’s one game at a time.”
Indeed, everyone knew just what the boys were up against in their faceoff with Gateway in the BCL-C championship game. As Coach Glass put it, “Gateway is a really strong team that beat us twice during the regular season. Our boys … played their best game of the year in the championship game, which resulted in their second straight BCL-C basketball championship.”
“We had a game plan, and the boys stuck to it very well,” Coach Overfelt added. “[Gateway] came out and took the lead. But the boys stayed in it … stayed calm, worked through it and made a comeback there in the second quarter, then took the lead in the third.”
So, with their system of play perfected, Gateway vanquished and a second league championship under their belts, boys varsity basketball headed into the NCS tournament hopeful. Coach Overfelt recalled, “The first year we were in NCS, we came out and played really scared against Branson. Last year we came out and attacked [Head Royce] and had a chance to win. It’s the same this year – it was a winnable game for us.”
Coach Glass acknowledged, “Getting a first-round game against the really strong Head Royce team in the North Coast Section was a tough draw for us, but the guys played hard and never gave up. As long as they’re doing that – always giving their best effort, never giving up, taking care of their teammates, representing their school with pride – that’s all that matters.”
Coach Overfelt added, in closing, “We got to the championship game three years in a row for the BCL-C. We’re back-to-back champions. This is our third year in a row in NCS qualification. The program’s on the up-and-up, we’ve got a lot of basketball players showing up to play. We’d like to keep it going.”