Basketball season starts strong

Emily Pavlik, co-sports editor

A startling buzzer sounds as athletes in white and gold jerseys approach the edge of the bleachers. A sea of students chant and stomp their feet as they watch the first tip-off begin. 

Starting their season off with a 7-1 record Head Coach Phillip Ralston finds that his team has already been led to success through the connection of his players. Relatively early in the season the team’s culture of compassion for one another is high, explained Ralston.

“Returning athletes have done a great job of embracing and supporting the younger, newer members of the team,” Ralston said. “We share the ball well, [and] work to support and challenge each other.” 

In their previous wins at the Palatine Thanksgiving Tournament, Ralston acknowledged the competitive environment and claims it has spiked a fire under the Titans. He said while competing against some of the best teams from neighboring conferences, their game play exceeded their expectations.           i   “[The Thanksgiving tournament] gives the team added confidence in future games,” Ralston said. “We always have to be mindful of not settling for less than our best efforts.” 

Senior center Spencer Brown has been a part of the basketball program for four years, and this being his final season on the team, he has hopes for making it far in the playoffs.  

“This season we hope to make a deep run down state, and win the state championship,” Brown said. 

Along with their high performances earlier this season, Brown said their present competitive game play will advance their skills later on in the season.

“Our performance [at past tournaments] will carry into the season because we got to play some really competitive teams,” Brown said. 

Senior point-guard Cooper Noard also acknowledged the team’s highly aggressive gameplay this season thus far. He said the team dynamic has really improved their skill and drive towards success, and he has enjoyed their most recent accomplishments. 

“I’m close with everyone,” Noard said. “All of these guys are my family. Everyone helps everyone in different ways, that’s why we’ve been so good so far.” 

While working on continual improvement, Ralston hopes the team will be prepared for the Illinois High School Association playoffs. In preparation he has scheduled different challenges for the team to face this winter, including competing in a Wheeling Holiday Tournament over winter break where they will compete against teams from Indiana and Iowa. 

 “I purposely scheduled a tough schedule this year to challenge and prepare us for the end of the season,” Ralston said. “Each of these games will be [a] unique and challenging opportunity for us to improve as a team.”

As the season kicks off, Ralston speaks highly of the support of students and staff, he said the team feeds off the energy of the crowd. 

 “We hope [the student section] continues to grow,” Ralston said. “There’s nothing like a Friday night high school basketball game with a full student section.”