Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Dribble Till They Tremble


Basketball is a sport that generates both friendship or rivalry when played on the court. Through its simplicity and intensity, it engages the attention of the viewers. Being played requires more body contact, which could result in some injuries. Compared to football, basketball is an indoor athletic that requires a less amount of players on the team, with a slighter number of injuries when played.

As the new season begins, the players look forward to having a greater season than the previous one. Through the games played in the recent season, the players can compare the progress of the previous one with this one. Eze Nwakamma, a junior has been on the team since freshman year, has witnessed the difference between both seasons.

“I have been in the program for a while and this year is a lot better. Last year the bond was strong but not as strong as this year. It feels more like a family now and this connection has reflected in our games too,” Nwakama said. “We’ve won several games with a few losses, not to brag but we are a ranked team in Texas.”

The progress of the team relies on the player’s dedication. Each individual has a distinctive playing skill when developed properly, which can support the advancement of the team. Junior Abisaya Gbakinro believes that his presence has had a big impact on the team because of the skills he displays on game day.

“I think I did a pretty good job on defense. I think my presence has a big importance, I’ve been a good piece to the team. Can help our team become stronger and more athletic,” Gbakinro said. “I brought really good competitiveness and practices and then in game, I’ve got a good defense.”

Young upcoming players sometimes require encouragement to build up psychological stability. The coaches in school take it as their responsibility to build the mindset of the players for stronger team morale. Boy’s Basketball Head Coach Cornelius Mitchell understands the importance of the player’s mental health and has found away to improve it.

“I think motivation has to be more of a real-life term for athletes. See how it can positively affect the real-life goals that they’re trying to accomplish,” Mitchell said. “Once we find out what they’re trying to accomplish, we use that as motivation to help them reach their goals, and that builds the team morale.”

As game day pops in, the duty of the athletes heightens. To win, some of the players get overwhelmed with the tension from the crowd and the expectations for them from peers and coaches. Junior Ariel Morris relates to the pressure from the people, and uses some techniques to calm herself before the game begins.

“Pressure is always gonna be there. You just have to be mentally tough and be ready for the unexpected. Before the game starts, I put on my headphones and play music just to clear my head,” Morris said. “I also talk to God, hand the game over to him, and hope he helps us win this game.”

During this season, the team has had a large number of wins compared to the prior season. However, there have been some losses as well that have the players realize their mistakes and learn from them. Senior Daelyn Lewis is convinced that the games the team lost were a result of the relaxation and underrating of the opposing players.

“The few games we lost, I would say were our fault. We’ve gotten too comfortable with winning in our status in the rankings and everything and sometimes that makes us underestimate the next team we play against,” Lewis said. “I would just say we should keep pushing to be our best selves and not be complacent with where we are.”

The power of a team is a group effort. It involves the support of the athletes, their parents, and the sports trainer. For that kind of relationship to be formed, the coaches build a relationship with the player’s guardians by involving them in the activities their child does. Mitchell has worked out a way to connect the parents with the activities they do through communication.

“I think the best thing you can do is communicate. The one thing we do try to do is we have an open-door policy. Our parents have access to our practices recorded, have access to our gains, access to our videos, and access to me, they have access to our staff,” Mitchell said. “So the biggest thing with good relationships is just access to people and communication with people so that you can build a bond.”

With each new season that arrives, the players believe it will be more favorable than the past season. Basketball requires a lot of mental toughness from the players as the crowds anticipate for their team to win. Before overlooking the coach who has improved the team, they have supported the athletes. Their role has impacted the crew significantly.

About the Contributor
Precious Nwokolo
Precious Nwokolo, ENN Staff