Hoop it up Cats!


Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – the playoffs begin for the over-30 league teams Aug. 4 at the fitness center here. The championship game is scheduled to take place Aug. 10 at the fitness center gym here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

Not too long ago, basketball season started for middle school. Basketball is a sport that a lot of middle schoolers get excited about, but only a few get to participate in due to how many slots there are on each team and how competitive the tryouts are. The units are divided by grade, skill, and gender. There is a girl’s green team, girls white team, boys 7th-grade team, and boys 8th-grade team. Let’s check in with some players on these teams to see how their season is going so far.

Claire Quinn, a teammate on the girl’s green team, told me about how their team is pretty good so far, and already improved from last year’s season. A player on the 8th-grade boy’s team, Will Riedel, explained that their team is decent this year and that they have a record of 3-2. Players from both the girl’s white team and the 7th-grade boys said that their season is going great as well.

Despite everyone’s successful seasons so far, there are always skills to be improved throughout the season. Each player had detailed opinions on what needs to be improved. Hailey McGruder, from the girl’s white team, seems to think that her team needs to work on passing and not being afraid to shoot the ball, and her fellow teammate Katies Koenning agrees. Kent Perkins from the 8th-grade boy’s team and Houston Gragnani from the 7th-grade boy’s team also mentioned how their teams passing could be improved. Passing seems to be a common trend throughout each team. However, Brand Morgan, a player on the 7th-grade boy’s team, and Ava Ramsey from the girl’s green team, thinks that their teams should work on running their offensive plays.

Everyone enjoys playing on the basketball team, but for different reasons. Will Riedel said that his favorite part of being on the team is getting to play his favorite sport every day, and he loves the competition that comes with it. Houston Gragnani and other players stated a similar idea. When I asked Kent Perkins what his favorite part of being on the basketball team is, he replied, “The community it provides.” Brand, Ava, and Hailey had the same thought. As you can see, people treasure being on the basketball team for different reasons.

Each basketball team, on average, has three practices and one game a week. Then on the weekends, usually one or two games. The basketball schedule takes up a lot of the player’s time, and don’t forget they are also students, so the practice schedule takes away time from office hours and from time to do homework and study at home. All the boy players that I talked to told me that practice time doesn’t affect them at all. Still, all-girls mentioned how it cuts into their time to talk to teachers during office hours and that it gives them less time to do homework.

Being on the basketball team can teach you so many lessons. Claire, Hailey, Katie, and Houston expressed how they learned this season how much of a team sport basketball is. Will Riedel said he learned that nothing is guaranteed in basketball. No matter how prepared you think, you are for a game; you can never practice too much. Kent Perkins learned a lesson about how time management is more important than he thought. He said he now understands that you need to plan out what you will do and get homework done earlier, so you aren’t stuck finishing it after a late-night game.

After hearing what all of these players had to say, we now know a little more about the middle school basketball teams. To sum up what they said, all of the teams seasons are going well, most teams need to work on passing and other things like running their offense, each player loves being on the basketball because they either get to play their favorite sport, they get to know new people or both, and they all have learned all kinds of valuable lessons. Come cheer on girls green team and the 8th-grade boys team during their game this Friday the 22nd. The girls green team starts at 4:00 pm, and the boys game will begin after theirs! And I hope you have learned or taken away something from these middle school athletes.