By Brion Gregorson, Staff Writer
A stark contrast from last year’s team, which had 5 sophomores for whom it was the first time playing on the varsity level, this year’s Galileo boys’ varsity basketball team will be returning almost all of its varsity players. The Lions had a tough season last year, en route to a 6-10 record, and a first round playoff loss to Mission High School. However, with all the experience that the Lions have, as well as the addition of Senior Max Betkowski, who was not eligible to play last year after transferring from Lick High School in his Junior year, they have set high expectations for themselves, hoping to make a run at the city championship.
With almost all the players on the team having a full season of varsity basketball under their belt, the Lions have no more excuses why they should not have a very successful season. Senior guard Kyle Fung sees the vast improvements the team has made, and he has high hopes for the season, stating that, “My expectation for the season is to win the city championship because I know the team has the ability to do so.” It is now up to the team to put in hard work and be dedicated during the season if they want their expectations to be fulfilled.
Many players have worked on their game individually in their own time in order to become the best possible players they can. Many of the players went to individual workouts at Galileo over the summer, doing things such as shooting and dribbling drills to hone their skills in those areas. “All of us have improved skill- wise, and over the summer, the whole team worked really hard individually and as a cohesive unit,” Junior forward Ken Rivera says.
The Lions have put in time to sure up their abilities, but the team still has some weaknesses that they will need to improve on. The team will have to be smarter basketball players, as well as working on executing their plays, in order to become a better unit. Last year, the team had serious issues limiting their turnovers and running their plays correctly, so this year it will be a point of emphasis to fix or at least limit these problems.
The team still has some glaring weaknesses, such as the team’s average height is 5’9’’. Junior guard Kenneth Lum says, “Some problems I see with the team are that we are undersized, we don’t always play as a team, and we sometimes have trouble staying focused on the task at hand.” Due to these flaws, the Lions will undoubtedly face many obstacles over the course of the season that they will look to overcome.
In order to make up for these shortcomings, the Lions will have to rely on out- hustling and playing solid defense against their opponents in order to make up for their deficiencies. Last year’s team had difficulty keeping their intensity level constant throughout practice, but this year, the team seems to be staying focused and keeping their intensity level high during practice. As sophomore forward David Swenson puts it, “Since the team is undersized, it may be a challenge for us to compete with the bigger teams, but if we work harder than the other team, we can overcome these challenges and become a successful team.” The players will have to know each other’s roles on the court, and the fact that the team has played together for a while should be beneficial to their success as they keep on trying to improve their team.
The players will have to go to practice every day, work as hard as they can, and commit to the team for the long haul of the season if they expect to meet their goals. Hard work and dedication in practice will translate to the team having a better season. Sixth year Head Coach Jeremy Lee says, “The team needs to improve day by day, week by week if we want to get where we want to be.”