Boys basketball cuts down the nets on senior night


The leopard boys basketball team celebrates a victory. The teams current record is 23-5.

The work from summer to February paid off for the boys basketball team last Friday. The team defeated Melissa 69-68 on senior night and was crowned as district champions for the third year in a row. In addition, the team continued its undefeated record in district.
“Being district champions is a great accomplishment for the boys,” head coach Kyle Herrema said. “The metroplex is filled with so many great teams and to win district three years in a row is quite impressive. What really stands out is that each of those teams were completely different, yet they were able to forge their own identity and continue to win. I think there is a lot of pride in the program and the expectation to work hard and win has been passed down to each class.”
With the district champion title in sight, the team had to overcome the feelings and emotions of what senior night entails.
“Senior night was memorable and sad,” senior guard Kyle Sheehan said. “All the flashbacks and memories from freshman year to now hit me really hard, and it’s sad but exciting because we all know we aren’t not done yet.”
The eight seniors recognized were guards Akshat Saini, Kyle Sheehan, Alfred Cheatham, Jackson Wood and Parker Patel as well as forwards Karson Templin, Will Mclaughlin and William Parkhurst.
“The only real thought I had about it being my last game at Lovejoy at home was just hoping that we would win the game,” senior guard Jackson Wood said. “The lead would shrink, grow and switch the entire time, and I just continued to be concerned about winning the game itself.”
The team racked up 35 rebounds and 11 assists in the game.
“I feel the team played really well considering we lost our Karson [Templin], arguably our best player in the first half,” Sheehan said. “Players like Will and Akshat came in clutch and stepped up, but all in all everyone stepped up to the plate.”
The team will conclude their regular season on Tuesday in a road game against Greenville.
“This group has so much personality,” Herrema said. “It’s nearly impossible to not laugh at or with them each day. At the same token, they know when to compete and stay focused and when to cut loose and have a great time. It’s been so much fun to see them grow on and off the floor.”
After Tuesday’s game, the team will look ahead to the playoffs. Last year, the team made it to the third round and was defeated by Frisco Memorial.
“I think we’re gonna surprise people in the playoffs,” Wood said. “We recently have been pushing the ball really well and as a team, we’re playing great defense. For the playoffs, we’re going to be watching a lot of film and really getting ourselves figured out before we worry too much about what other teams can do.”