Boys basketball advances despite recent setbacks


Photo Coral Admidin

Zach Campbell guards his opponent from a pass at the home game against Cheyenne East.

Coming into the new season, the Sheridan High School boys basketball team has had a rocky start. With the arrival of numerous new varsity players, as well as the loss of some important teammates due to injuries, the team is struggling to overcome their new changes. “We lost two key players to knee injuries before the season even started, which definitely impacted our season,” said Drew Boedecker, a junior who’s been playing basketball since the second grade. The two key players Boedecker refers to are starters Blake Baker and Coy Steel, who both injured their ACL.

So far, the team has had three wins and seven losses in their non-conference schedule. Head coach Gale Smith recalls playing the Lenwood, Calif. team at the Gillette Tournament as being memorable because the team wasn’t able to break a tie in the last 30 seconds of the game. Smith talks about how the team has “let opportunities to win slip through,” and however disheartening, it can be it is “a great learning lesson” for future games.

Practice runs a few hours every weeknight, and recently, the team has been working on defense and communication. “We’ve really upped the intensity,” Boedecker said in regards to the new focuses. He believes it’s small tasks like making the easy basket or a stop on defense that keep them from winning games. In addition to practices, the team sits down every Monday to review their past games that have been filmed. According to Smith, the team looks for “what’s working and what’s not working,” in order to improve their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths. “Once we can put it all together,” Boedecker says, “then we’ll really hit our stride, and we won’t be a team to mess with.”

As well as technical plays on the court, the team concentrates on building up their team chemistry. The variety in age group has caused an imbalance. Because of “inexperience due to young kids playing at a level that they might not normally be playing at,” according to Coach Smith, the team is having trouble playing together.

Senior Blake Godwin, a player for 14 years, explains that the young players are still getting used to playing varsity, and, as a result, “We’re still trying to mesh.” Though it hasn’t been easy, Coach Smith is pleased with the progress that they’ve had, and is confident they will continue to get better. Boedecker agrees with Smith, and expresses his thoughts on the new players, saying, “They’ve really come into their own and are able to perform well.”

Regardless of the conflicts they’ve endured, the team has been working hard and is looking up. “The mindset that we need to have in this part of the season,” Coach Smith says, “is just about getting better and continuing to work hard.” After all, this is only the beginning. The team hasn’t even played a conference game yet. With the goal of winning a state championship, Godwin believes it’s far too early to start predicting what they’ll accomplish. According to him, the possibility of winning at state doesn’t relate at all to how team started out the season. For now, the team is optimistic for the future. “I know that we can do some really great things if we work hard,” Godwin says on the matter. “I’m excited about how good we can be.”