Boys basketball steals first playoff win in half decade


Senior Forward Jordan Ibe prepares to play defense in a game at Godwin. Photo courtesy of Katie Wood.

Josh Epstein, Lead Sports Editor

The boy’s basketball team just wrapped up one of their best seasons in recent memory. The team capped off a much improved regular season, finishing with 13 wins and 9 losses, their most wins in a regular season since the 2015-16 campaign. The Wildcats were at their best when they were playing at home, as they posted a magnificent home record of nine wins and just three losses.    

   The team won their last three regular-season games to clinch a spot in the regional playoffs. During the winning streak, they secured home wins against Tucker and Freeman, and captured a road win at Hermitage. The team’s win against Freeman was arguably their most impressive game of the season, as Freeman had been labeled as one of the teams to beat with their 18 regular season wins.

   The team secured their first playoff appearance since the 2019-20 season. They faced off with Clover Hill at home and prevailed with a final score of 73-66. Seniors Justin Wilder and Zach Mccown each scored a team-high 22 points, and combined for nine three-pointers. Throughout the season, the team was led by Wilder, who averaged 18 points per game, while shooting 46 percent from the field and 32 percent on three-pointers. 

   This is the boy’s basketball team’s first playoff win since the 2016-17 season, where they defeated Glen Allen. The Wildcats had lost their last two playoff games, until ending their losing streak in the postseason.

   After the win over Clover Hill in the first round of the playoffs this season, the Wildcats advanced to play Glen Allen on the road. Unfortunately, they were unable to overcome the stifling defense from the Jaguars, and lost 56-40.

Senior Guard Hunter Albertson dribbles the ball past a defender in a home game against Patrick Henry. Photo courtesy of Katie Wood.

   Despite the disappointing loss, Head Coach Justin Hayes said that the team met their expectations of being mentally focused and leaving everything on the court. 

   “My expectations for my players was that they give everything that they had in order to prepare and be ready for whatever we were faced with,” Hayes said. “I just wanted our players to be locked in and focused on a daily basis and the rest would take care of itself.”

   Hayes said the team’s willingness to make mid-season adjustments was the biggest factor in their success.

        “The players adapted to the changes that had to be made in order for them to be successful night in and night out,” Hayes said. “We had to make several adjustments during the year and we were able to make them for the most part.”

I just wanted our players to be locked in and focused on a daily basis and the rest would take care of itself.

— Coach Hayes

   Hayes said that the team’s awareness of their playoff positioning was the key to their three game winning streak to end the season.

   “The fact that they knew we needed to win those games to keep our spot in the playoffs definitely helped push us the last three games,” Hayes said. 

   With the conclusion of the season, the team will now focus on ways they can improve for the 2022-23 season, as they will look to build off of their first round playoff win.