Comets’ hot start has team in GMC title race

Joseph Spencer | Staff Writer

The boys’ varsity basketball team is in shape to win the GMC, with an 8-1 record going into the bulk of their GMC schedule, according to senior Parker Raffel. They also lead the league in points scored against and this stingy defense is the reason for much of the team’s success, according to Raffel.

“We are so successful because of our defense,” Raffel said. “We play hard defense, which in return, helps us generate points.”

The team’s tough defense can be credited to the team’s game philosophy, according to junior Darin Harris.

“Every game, we go into the battle with the mentality to hold [the other team off by making sure it doesn’t score more than]…40 points,” Harris said. “If we can hold them under 40 [points], then we are on track to winning that game.”

Tough defense has been key for the Comets during Coach Greg Richards’ reign, and the reason for the defense’s success this year is the closeness of the team, according to junior Michael Van Kleunen.

“Everyone on the team fits together,” Van Kleunen said. “When we are out there, everyone is able to lead in [his] own way. I would credit our closeness [and] trust for each other [as] the reason that we have been so successful.”

Raffel said that this closeness was started in the off-season.

“This off-season we started our new workout with Coach Carl [Richburg],” Raffel said. “This definitely brought us closer because it helped us work with the players who we have not played with before.”

Using its newfound team bond, the team must stick together over the next weeks as the bulk of the team’s GMC schedule is played, according to Van Kluenen.

“The next few weeks will be huge for the team,” Van Kluenen said. “We have Lakota East and Middletown in back-to-back home games. Those will be two huge games for us and our goal of winning the GMC championship.”

On January 7, the Comets, ranked fifth citywide, played Princeton, who were ranked sixth citywide. This game was one of the team’s biggest games of the year, according to Harris.

“Princeton [is always] one of our biggest games of the year,” Harris said. “It [leads] us into two weeks of tough games.”

The team fought hard to earn a tied game, which Princeton finally ended with a hot streak during overtime and a final score of 62-57, Princeton. Junior point guard JD Sprague said that the team will move on from this loss and look forward to the weeks ahead.

“We are not going to dwell on the past,” Sprague said. “[Instead,] we are going to take it one game at a time for the next two weeks. We know what we have to fix and we will keep improving from there.”