Basketball uses age, talent to make strides


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Roughly a month into the season, the basketball team has made strides towards success, but perhaps has not yet tapped the potential the players and coaches know is there.

With a team as diverse in age as this one, the Pumas have to opportunity to use their combined skills — and championship-winning coaching — to achieve more than any of Perry’s previous basketball teams.

“Our expectations are all our programs are going to compete,” said Principal Dan Serrano. “I’m excited to see what he can do.”

The Pumas started the season with several close games, including three losses by four points or less. The capability is all there, but perhaps the team is still searching for the great divider in high school sports — confidence.

Freshman Evan Skeoch said, “I don’t think we’re confident enough in this season yet, but I feel like we’ll get there once we come together.”

While the wide range of player age could be an asset to the team, the Pumas must first find a way to embrace working with an unfamiliar team.

“I think the biggest struggle has just been playing together,” said sophomore Bauer Bongard. “This is our first year of all us getting to know each other and how we all cooperate on the court.”

The team’s positive outlook on the season is no doubt due to the effect of new head coach Sam Duane, whose career at Corona del Sol has made him one of the most respected coaches in the state.

“He really pushes us,” said Skeoch. “He believes in us a lot. I know that he’s going to do whatever it takes to win.”

Duane brought much anticipation to the program after leading the Aztecs to four consecutive state championships, but like any team, change cannot happen overnight.

“We just need to execute better,” said Bongard. “I think our defense and just hitting our free throws when it comes down to it.”

The team participated in the prestigious Hoophall Tournament for the first time on Dec. 10 at Chaparral High School, with a 49-42 win over Lake Oswego from Oregon. Wins like these are what the team expects of themselves, and with the heart of the season yet to come, it will be an exciting ride as the Pumas continue to stay working towards success.

“It all comes down to effort because we have the talent,” said Skeoch. “If we just work hard as a team and come together and believe in ourselves, then we’ll push through.”

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