Getting a jump on the competition

Boys basketball team prepares for approaching season

Then-junior+Carter+Huggins+dribbles+around+an+Avonworth+defenseman+and+looks+to+pass+the+ball+during+a+game+on+Feb.+9%2C+2021.+

FHS Press Archives

Then-junior Carter Huggins dribbles around an Avonworth defenseman and looks to pass the ball during a game on Feb. 9, 2021.

Sarah Levenson, Editor-in-Chief (Print)

It’s that time of year again, when leaves are falling and basketballs are flying across the court. The boys basketball team is preparing for a return to play following a challenging previous season due to COVID-19, side-lined players and facing tough opponents. Many of these challenges may present themselves as the season progresses, but the boys are ready to face them and hopeful of a successful season. 

This season, the boys are without nine seniors from Freedom’s most recent graduating class, many of whom were top point leaders and producers for the team. However, the boys basketball team is looking strong this season with a new group of players and a fresh type of game. There are currently six seniors on the varsity team: Kinsley Aswani, Max Bozza, Christopher Hartley, Carter Huggins, Carter Slowinski and Joshua Yeck. The boys look to Huggins and Slowinski as leaders this season as they have the most varsity experience, though official team captains are not assigned. Along with the help these senior players will bring to the team, there are a number of underclassmen who are also prepared to step up and play hard. 

“I’m looking forward to all the games and getting some good work in. We all have good chemistry and get along, so I think we’ll have a good season,” Huggins said. 

The first mandatory practice for the team was on Nov. 19. However, optional workouts and open gyms have been available since April. To get even more practice during their offseason, the boys played in New Castle’s summer league. A decent number of kids have also consistently been in the gym working since September, and according to head coach Jeffrey Griffith, those numbers have increased since football and soccer ended. 

Griffith has a somewhat new plan for the team this year. Their philosophy of playing tough man-to-man defense and running motion offense with good ball movement remains the same. Although, the boys may play a 1-2-2 zone defense and run quick hitters on offense more than they did in past seasons. 1-2-2 zone defense pressures the basketball on the outside arc to allow for trapping. This is effective against strong outside shooting teams, which will hopefully help the Bulldogs prevent more 3-point shots. 

As of writing this, the boys are required to follow the same COVID-19 mandates as the district during practices and games, including mask-wearing and social distancing when necessary. 

The team is ready to begin official practices and start coming together as a unit. 

“Our goals have always been to get better everyday, be great teammates and compete to win games,” Griffith said. 

Currently, the schedule for the varsity boys basketball team is unavailable, though games are expected to begin in December as usual. Until then, the boys continue to prepare for the upcoming season. 

“Our players have put in a lot of skill work and played a lot of pickup basketball this fall, and now with practice starting, we get to see it all come together and start gelling as a team. I really like the group of kids we have this year and expect some very competitive practices,” Griffith said.