Basketball team comes together in adversity

With a fourth place finish in the state tournament this season, the boys basketball team met high expectations. Working on technicality and coming together in adversity were major improvements that the team accomplished this year. This season’s starting lineup had one returning varsity player, senior Noah Livingston. 

“I had played a good amount the previous season, so I was the only one with experience, but I can say without a doubt my teammates really stepped up and performed,” Livingston said. “In each game throughout the season, you could see improvement.”

The COVID-19 pandemic limited the way the team could form a stronger bond outside of the basketball court. 

“I think we grow closer as a family and improve as basketball players every single week,” Livingston said. “I’m proud of the work we put in and think we prepared as well as we could every week.”

For seniors Aaron Oliger and Garrett Nerenberg, they were both newcomers to the starting lineup this year. 

“It was great being in the starting lineup by just helping the team win rather than cheering on everyone from the bench,” Oliger said. 

According to Oliger, the state and conference tournaments were a great experience to play in. Although the pandemic impacted this year’s season immensely, the team learned to come together through adversity. 

“From the beginning of the season, we improved a lot at the little things, things people don’t notice unless you’ve been around basketball a lot,” Oliger said. 

The team had high expectations to place in the top three of conference, however, they didn’t meet that goal. 

“We knew we could compete with everyone we played,” Oliger said. “We just had to bring it every night.”

Unfortunately, Nerenberg faced a major obstacle from sustaining a meniscus injury in both of his knees. This challenge didn’t stop him from playing the game though. 

“Being in the starting lineup was something special to me because I felt like I meant a lot to the team with what I bring,” Nerenberg said. 

According to Coach Tommy Deffebaugh, the team’s defense and execution on offense were major improvements that were made on the court. 

“Our post guys Noah Livingston, Garrett Nerenberg, and Jermaine Tilford really started playing bigger and stronger for us inside,” Deffebaugh said. 

With an 18-9 overall finish this year, the seniors stepped up by leading by example and leading with their voices for the rest of their teammates. 

“Just coming to practice every day ready to compete and practice hard,” Deffebaugh said, “that’s what coaches need their seniors to do.”