By Angela Liu
Boys Varsity Basketball was the team to beat after sustaining a 19–6 record last season, but now they face a midseason slump as they struggle with strategy and a small roster, Head Coach Nick Papas said. The team’s record stands at 8–9 as of February 8.
The team kicked off the season with two “gratifying” wins against Roxbury Latin and Exeter but then incurred two losses against Belmont Hill and the Rivers School before a 40–56 upset in the Hoop Mountain Mass Arc Holiday Challenge January 19 at the TD Garden—an event Assistant Coach Kevin Steuer described as “a once-in-a-lifetime experience” regardless.
“We are pushing through the tough times, having lost the past two games,” Co-Captain Nick Jacobs ’15 said. “We are sticking together and making sure we push each other to keep giving all we’ve got.”
Though fortified with veteran athletes, the team is hindered by a lack of players, Coach Papas said.
“Our team’s strength is our experience, returning with four starters and five more varsity lettermen,” he said. “Our weakness is our size. We are one of smallest teams in the Independent School League.”
Assistant Coach Jamie Bourque said he is impressed by the “strong bond” shared by the team of four freshmen, four sophomores, five juniors, and six seniors. Co-Captain Koby Antwi ’15 agreed, calling the team a “family of 19 brothers.”
Koby said the team has many talented and bright underclassmen players and considers himself “a leader and mentor of the younger players.”
“We have a lot of potential, especially with our freshman class,” he said. “I can’t wait to come back as an alum and see Jimin Kang [’18] drop 40 points on teams next year.”
Nick thanked the team’s coaches for “keeping us focused and determined to get better each and every day” while acknowledging his own responsibility to rally the team.
“My main job is keeping everyone on the team motivated and determined to get through any adversity that we may face on the court,” he said.
Though the team is not doing as well as it did last season, Koby remains optimistic about its chances for postseason success.
“We are just midway through the season,” he said. “Hopefully we can bring a championship back to Bucky.”