A Check-In With the Boys’ Basketball Team


Courtesy of Coach Johnson's Twitter

BSM boys basketball celebrating #1 seed in conference after last home game

The BSM boys’ basketball team has a different dynamic this year after five starting seniors graduated leaving this year’s roster with mostly underclassmen. It’s a little over half way through the season and they currently have a record of 13-3. Despite being such a young squad, they have high hopes for the rest of the season.

Many people weren’t expecting the young team to be so strong this year. Their current starting lineup consists of four sophomores and one junior. “Got a record that people wouldn’t think we [‘d] have. We lost one game we weren’t supposed to lose, but other than that we’re playing nice,” sophomore Jaleel Donley, the starting point guard, said.

In December, the No. 12 ranked Red Knights beat the No. five ranked DeLaSalle Islanders, 55-49, in front of a packed crowd to win the Christian Brother’s Cup–one of the highlights of the season so far. “I’d have to say the DeLaSalle game [my favorite memory so far]. They had everybody rooting against us and we ended up beating them,” Donley said.

I’d have to say the DeLaSalle game [my favorite memory so far]. They had everybody rooting against us and we ended up beating them,”

— Jaleel Donley

Although it may seem like the age difference is a difficult change for the team to adjust to, Coach Damian Johnson disagrees. He set high expectations going into the season and because he coached them last year they’ve known how to live up to them. “My kids know my expectations a lot better this year compared to last year, so I think we all [have] grown. It’s easier for me to teach stuff because they kind of know what’s expected this year,” Johnson said.

The coaching staff does a lot to make sure the team has good practices that’ll lead them to success in games. Their practices consist of a lot of scrimmaging, running through plays, using the shooting machine, and conditioning. “We do a lot of film sessions and scouting reports [to] breakdown on what each player does well [and] what players we need to focus on [our opponents]. [Then] we do a lot of practice where we kind of go over the same scouts,” coach Johnson said.

The physical aspect of basketball isn’t the only thing that’s important in the program though, having mental toughness is emphasized as well. They know that getting down on themselves after a mistake and not playing their hardest only brings the whole team down too. “I [v’e] learned, not [to] focus about the score and always, always try your hardest… [and] improvise when something’s not going right,” sophomore, Abu Keita, said.

The team hopes to finish the season off better than last year, when they lost to Mound Westonka in a tough section semi-final game. Their goal this year is to win sections and go to the state tournament for the first time since 2010 and also win conference for the first time since 2012. The coaches are proud of how much the program has improved since last year. “I was expecting everyone to just work hard and try to focus on us growing as a program, and right now we’re doing that. We might be a little ahead of schedule to be honest, but they’re definitely fulfilling my expectations,” Johnson said.