Now that winter has arrived in sunny South Florida, fall sports teams have ended their seasons and winter sports teams have gotten their seasons well underway. The Spanish River boys’ varsity basketball team, one of the most competitive teams in the entire school, has already been forced to deal with many obstacles early in their season. After losing their first two games by a total of just 12 points, and also dropping a road game against Santaluces, the Sharks successfully closed out a big win over St. Thomas Aquinas and dominated American Heritage to put their record at just 2 wins and 3 losses.
Not only have the Sharks missed out on the solid start that they were expecting, there have also been some unforeseen changes in the starting lineup. On a routine inbounds play in the Aquinas game, Sharks senior guard Sam Schner intercepted the inbound pass and finished the play with a layup, but twisted his ankle on his way back to the hardwood and has been on crutches - and unable to play - ever since. This bad break for the Sharks has forced the team to reshape their game plans on both offense and defense without their senior star. However, Spanish River basketball head coach John Jones has a positive outlook on the team’s ability to replace Schner’s impact on the court.
“Most injuries are temporary,” said Jones. “Sam is a good player, but also a good leader, and because of his leadership, we have other players that are ready to step up for Sam.”
Another positive sign is the team’s relentless style of play on the court. No matter what the score of the game is, the Sharks refuse to go down without a fight. They have both hard work and talent on their side, and Jones is getting the most out of them.The Sharks are constantly moving their feet and keeping their hands disruptive on defense: they fight for every single rebound, steal, and loose ball that they can get to. The speed of the Sharks’ play is also evident on offense, with passing plays and open looks that allow easy buckets to keep them in high-scoring games.
“We’re a really quick and smart team, so we’re able to play at a really fast pace while also making the right decisions,” said junior guard Sam Forstot. “We are all pretty close, which helps us to play as a unit too.”
Another key reason why the Sharks have consistently fielded a winning team on the basketball court is that the players are not only teammates, but close friends. (Credit deserves to be given to both Coach Jones and the seniors for building a brotherhood both on and off the court.) Motivating each other and pushing each other to be the best are signs of teams that will truly do whatever it takes to win.
“I am always striving to pick my teammates up and make them better players and better people,” said senior forward and team captain Dominic Barone. “I try to help the younger guys by motivating them to always perform better and live up to their full potential.”
The Sharks have overcome a variety of obstacles to stay in early-season playoff contention and will receive new life when Schner returns to health and enters the lineup once more. Look for the Sharks to be a strong district team with potential to make a deep playoff run.