Junior varsity boys’ basketball closed out last season with a winning record of 12-7, and returning sophomores and new freshman look to continue that momentum into this season. The team opened up their regular season play with a loss after a tough buzzer beating ending by a score of 50-47 against Springbrook on Dec. 6.
Sophomore Dason Miller returns to the JV roster for his sophomore year and is ready to get back in the gym with his teammates and have a better season than last year. Miller, along with other sophomores, knows that varsity head coach Erik Graves is watching them and waiting to call them up. “This season should be better because the sophomores have good chemistry and us sophomores have targets on our backs with coach Graves keeping an eye on us,” Miller said.
Six sophomores return to the team while coach Andre Gaines added three new sophomores and five freshmen. Sophomore Sam Gross tried out last season and didn’t make it, but Gross came back this year and nailed the tryout and made the team because of the effort he put in during the offseason. “Playing on my club team and working on my game outside really helped me boost my confidence and make me want to tryout, and me making the team showed that I can hang with these boys and can prove my dominance,” Gross said.
Freshman Connor Mitchell has been playing basketball for his school team for three straight seasons. Mitchell made the Frost basketball team as a seventh and eighth grader and is now playing for coach Gaines on the JV team. “Playing school basketball has helped me improve my skills and gives me a feel of what it’s like to play with other kids and how I can learn from the different coaches and get feedback from my teammates,” Mitchell said.
Freshman Ryan McGraw has some friendly competition with his 10th grade older brother Justin, as they are both competing for a starting spot on the team. The McGraw brothers are getting their first real opportunity to play with each other aside from when they play in the driveway. “I am very excited to get to play with Justin because he is really good and I can’t wait to learn from him,” Ryan McGraw said.
Sophomore Jacob Morris helped out the team last year but his role wasn’t large. Morris made sure he made the best of his playing time, and this season as he grows as a player, he knows that his time will go up. “I have to keep working at my game and keep getting feedback from my teammates, and my coaches so I can work to get better,” Morris said.
The Springbrook game started off slow with both teams looking a little nervous. The Patriots finally got it going with Parent getting everyone involved in the offense. Sophomore Ian Smith and Miller are able to spread the floor with their abilities to knock down outside shots, leaving room for other players to attack the basket.
The team had trouble on the boards from the start of the game. The team being undersized needed everyone to help box out and rebound. Springbrook was much taller than the Patriots and dominated the boards throughout the game. The game was close at half with the Patriots having a four-point lead.
The third quarter was close with neither team pulling away. The Patriots were finally able to get their inside game going with McGraw scoring a couple layups. Smith and Miller were both able to add on to the score, knocking down their three’s. Although the Patriots were able to find a rhythm on offense they still couldn’t get the stops they needed on defense. Springbrook was able to respond to offense, whenever the Patriots tried to pull away. “We really needed more stops on the defensive end but we were able to get them,” McGraw said.
The Patriots lead got cut to one at the start of the fourth quarter. The team was locked in and determined to get the win. Parent was able to find his way into the lane and get the easy score to extend the lead. Springbrook came back and knocked down a three to tie the game.
The game was neck and neck down to the final minute. The Patriots were able to knock down a three with little time left to tie the game at 47. Springbrook had the ball for the final possession. Springbrook was able to bring the ball down the court and shoot a three from the volleyball line. The shot went in as the buzzer sounded and the Patriots lost the first game 50-47.
Smith and Miller had 13 points each and Parent led the team with seven assists. The team’s next game on Dec. 10 against Blair was too late to be included in this issue. The next game is tonight at Watkins Mill.