Overturning the odds

Boys’ basketball team ends season as bi-district champions


Mya Joseph

Sophomore point guard Kylin Green practices with junior shooting guard Austin Pugh on Friday, March 1.

Having the greatest number of district wins since 2010-2011, the boys’ basketball team ended its 2018-2019 season with a record of 26-9. The team finished the season against DeSoto High School at Arlington Lamar High School on Friday, Feb. 22.

“Going into the DeSoto game, we knew they were big and physical so we knew rebounding was going to be an issue,” head coach Brian Miller said. “We turned it over too much in the game that led to some transition baskets early. I thought we played hard [against DeSoto]; we competed [well].”

This is Miller’s first year as head coach of this boys’ basketball team. Players believe Miller’s presence and coaching has improved the team’s performance this year compared to the past seasons.

“I feel like it was a change for the better for my senior class,” senior center Derrius Mitchell said. “We worked better as a team. I feel like we already had a good work ethic and he enhanced that.”

The team began the season in November with a win against James Bowie High School. With a long season ahead of them, they had to remain consistent with wins. The four-month season put a strain on the team, yet they found ways to keep their motivation through the close bond they have with each other.

“The love of the game [kept me motivated],” senior forward Matthew Norman said. “Being around my teammates every day [and] having fun with them really gets me into the game.”

This year, the team ended with only nine losses compared to last year’s record of 6-20. Five games this year were lost by only a single point. Knowing the record could have been improved didn’t discourage the team; instead they took the losses as a learning experience.

“It feels terrible [to lose],” senior forward Jaeson Lily said. “I can remember every loss. Being so close but losing. I remember one time, we were down with four minutes in the fourth quarter and we came back to win by one. Throughout the entire game, it could be two minutes, the start of the fourth quarter [or] it could be the first quarter; I have the same mentality of ‘we could win.’”

The team is proud of the results of this season. This year the team placed second in district, while being on the bottom of the district ranking last season. The team had four district players: freshman point guard Keyonte George (offensive player of the year), junior captain and point guard KJ Pruitt (defensive player of the year), sophomore point guard Kylin Green (first team all district) and junior shooting guard O’Cyrus Girtmon (second team all-district).

“I thought it was a successful year,” Miller said. “You never want it to be over and you always, as a coach, want to do more.”