A Slow Start

The varsity boys basketball team suffers defeat in first game of the season


Caption: Carter Headstrom

The varsity boys basketball team kicked off their season against Northwest on Tuesday. But they had to do it without many key players. In the end, they came up short with a 30-53 loss. At the beginning of the game, the team gathered for a cheer.
“Pumas on three! One! Two! Three! Pumas!”
Their voices echoed throughout the Puma Dome. Instead of the anticipated all white and blue in the huddle, a third of the players wore street clothes. It was going to be a big obstacle for the team to overcome according to Head Varsity coach James Johnson.
“We got hit with a flu bug so we have a lot of guys out that won’t be eligible for our first game,” Johnson said. “As long as the kids compete I am happy with the result.”
The game was filled with moments of excellence along with moments of frustration.
The team has many new players according to Trevor Zell.
“We need to defend as a team and bring up the intensity just because a lot of the guys this year it is their first time playing on Varsity so they are not used to the intensity level,” Zell said.
Most of the game, the Pumas kept the game within single or low double digits. This was because of their scrappy defense, but they were unable to capitalize on their efforts.
For spectators, it felt as if every stellar play by UPrep was countered with two Northwest ones shortly after.
With the clock midway through the third quarter, senior point guard Zack Lagunoff drove to just inside the three point line and, while being shoved, he scored and got sent to the free throw line. The bench erupted. After pumping his fist and high fiving teammates, he nailed the free throw. However, Northwest came storming back by knocking down a three pointer.
At halftime, Athletic Director Rebecca Moe entertained the crowd by hosting a half court competition.
The game was intense, physical, and gritty. By the end, UPrep was committing frustrated fouls because it was not their night. Senior Will Rothman committed five fouls and was forced to leave the game. He walked off the court with his head down.
Despite the final score, Johnson remained hopeful that the team will bounce back by the end of the season.
“I think we could finish in the top three in the league,” Johnson said. “But it would depend on if guys are healthy.”