Boys basketball bounces back after last season


Photo by Silverlux Photography

Senior Daniel Harris in possession of the ball.

Story by Lucy Smithwick, Online Managing Editor

The East Meck varsity boys basketball team is the definition of a diamond in the rough. After a rough season last year, tallying only 2 wins in 24 games, the team has pulled itself together already this year in the first few weeks.

With a current record of 4-2-0, the team has already surpassed last year’s win total after the first seven games of the season, with many left.

With at least four members either transferring or graduating from last year, Coach Vince Moore felt as though the 2018-2019 season would be dedicated to rebuilding.

“The seniors that I had on the team hadn’t been in the program for all four years, so they weren’t guys that I had a strong base with from freshman year,” Moore said. “Losing those seniors wasn’t detrimental to the team because they were less scorers, but more of a heartbeat for the team as a whole.”

The graduation of last year’s seniors made room for many new players. Some were completely new to the team this season and two are completely new to East. With many varsity players returning, the team looks to make some waves this season.

Sophomore Stephon Richards returned to varsity for his second year, and feels that this year, the relationship between the teammates is special.

“In the past season, our bond was strong and we all loved each other, but this year, we’ve bonded more and we have more scorers than last year,” Richards said. “We also move the ball around better than last year. It’s a brotherhood.”

Senior Demetrius Martin is new to East this year. Hailing originally from Garinger High School, Martin feels that he has improved his game since arriving at East, as well as his relationships with the team.

“They knew who I was when I got there and knew how I played,” Martin said. “They were accepting of me and they were glad that I came to their program. All of my success and everything I have now is because of my brothers and I wouldn’t trade anything for them.”

Richards felt as though the bond of the team has helped improve their efficiency and record this season.

“The reason we’ve been improving so much is because the returning players know what it’s like losing a lot of games. We are all trying to turn tables from last year and go far in the playoffs this year,” Richards said.

Moore tries to keep the players from playing without passion. He makes them play for the whole season instead of just for the playoffs, coining the slogan “Tomorrow starts today”.

“We pride ourselves on growth as a team. The returning players now know how to lose and know what it takes to win,” Moore said. “We play each game as if we’re playing in the championship, with the urgency and selflessness that would be needed in any game.”

Both Richards and Moore have said that they believe the team will succeed overall, with their current record backing that up. Richards believes that if everyone is on track by the end of the season then they will have a good chance of making a playoff run this February.

In order to get a full experience of how the brotherhood works together before the season is over, you need to go see the games. Worth the $6 tickets, the game is its own trip. Participation in the home game themes helps show your school spirit and support for the team, such as the Silent Night theme before winter break. The stands are asked to stay quiet until the tenth point is scored, then releasing the cheers of the stands. You’ll see their cooperation and strategies as they play and succeed as one unit: a basketball family.

“I want my players to be proud to be able to say that they’re an Eagle,” Moore said. “We’re really priding ourselves on the winning culture of the team and want our fans and student body to be excited about the East Mecklenburg athletics.”