The Highlander

Varsity boys basketball wins district game

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From the beginning of the season, the season for McLean basketball was already going incredibly well. By midseason, the team had already surpassed its number of wins for the previous three years combined. While the 8-14 record wasn’t an incredible one, it was still a phenomenal improvement from last year’s record of 0-23.

The dramatic improvement from last year emerged from a team of more experienced, seasoned players.

“We were a young team last year,” said junior and team captain Brian Aka. “We gained experience this year.”

Additionally, many players witnessed a shift and improvement of attitude, morale, and work ethic. The team, after facing a devastating zero wins for an entire season, desired more, and many attribute the successes of this season to that larger desire to win. More practices, harder practices, and hard work seemed to have paid off this season for the team.

“We figured out what it took to win games,” Aka said. “We worked hard in the offseason [to win].”

New players have also had an impact on the team, with freshmen, sophomores, and juniors all arriving from lower teams, or entering the school. New players have not only shown up in games, but also have improved the rigor and quality of practices, leading to more improvement across the board.

“They have stepped up in games and played really well on the offensive and defensive end,” Aka said. “They also made practices more competitive, forcing others to step up and improve.”

From the regular season and on, the team improved and won more games, claiming a district victory over Yorktown on February 13. The game was fairly level for the entirety of the first half, with halftime ending with a score of 25-20 with McLean up.

The halftime lead didn’t prevent an extremely competitive game, however, as the gaps stayed about level, with Yorktown even clinching the lead at some points. However, at the end of the third quarter, McLean began to pull away from our Arlington based neighbor. Ending with a score of 54-40, McLean clinched its first, and currently only, district competition victory.

The game was incredibly competitive and challenging to the players, who fought hard all throughout the game to maintain a lead and move on in the competition. Their hard work paid off as they won their best defensive game of the season, holding the opponent to only 40 points.

“We came out with energy and knew that the game was important,” Aka said. “We came into the mentality that we needed to win, and that’s what we did.”

Next year, members on the team expect to improve even more, wishing for an even better season than they played this year as more players gain more experience.

“We should be even better, now that half the team has had two or more years of varsity experience,” Aka said.

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The Student News Site of McLean High School