By Seamus Geoghegan
Remaining unbeaten in their 2020 season, the men’s basketball team is looking to continue its reign after a long hiatus due to COVID-19.
The team won all 30 of the games they were able to play before the season was cut off just before they were able to compete for what would have been their fifth state championship.
Guard Ezekiel Holman recalls it being difficult for the squad, who was so close to achieving another trophy for City.
“It was very rough having the season cut short,” Holman said. “That team especially was so close, we only had ten guys that really played and got quality minutes so we were all pretty in tune with how each other played which made for some pretty entertaining basketball.”
After the season was called off, players were left to train and prepare on their own. Guard Seyi Reiley spent as much time as possible training and watching basketball while taking care of his family in Oregon, hoping to come back for another season of basketball at City.
“[The team] wasn’t doing anything at City because everything was shut down. I was training really hard in my high school gym with a trainer who was a friend of mine.” Reiley said. “I was so excited to get back. I knew that I’d done so much work, and I was just waiting to put it out there, to show it off.”
The side got back to practicing in the spring, but what they were able to do was greatly limited. Certain contact drills and scrimmages were eliminated from training sessions, leaving the squad bound until restrictions eased up.
Despite that, Reiley could tell his team had put in as much effort outside of team practices as he had over the break.
“I think a lot of guys put in a lot of work in the offseason. And it definitely showed because our practices aren’t easy.” Reiley said. “So when you get back out there, it’s really hard cardio and if your body is not in shape it’s going to show pretty fast.”
Despite the much longer break between seasons and the strange circumstances surrounding their preseason, Coach Justin Labagh isn’t worried.
“I think everybody else is in the same boat,” Labagh said. “We have some big guys that are gonna take a little more time to develop, but if we can get them up to their potential, we’re gonna be really, really good.”
So far, the team has dominated in their preseason matches, winning all of their games by at least a 20 point margin.
With the great performances put on by the squad in the preseason, Holman is confident that his side is more ready than ever for their regular season.
“I would say that this team this year is very prepared for next, and I’d attribute that to just repetition.” Holman said. “We’ve all gotten pretty used to playing with each other”
“We have a really good squad this year, a lot of talented guys,” Reiley said, “I feel like everything’s clicking for us, we just have to gel a little better and to get our defense down…we’re going to be very, very dangerous.”