The End: Round Lake Boys Sophomore basketball

The sophomore boys basketball team ended the season with heart.


Photo Provided

From Round Lake High School athletic gallery

Kevon Elzey, Staff Writer

It’s the last game of the season and the Panthers, down to only six players, are set against one of the best teams in the conference. The first half has just ended and the Panthers are only down by a few points. During halftime, they enter the locker room drained from playing without a break. Each player looks around and realizes that they were still capable of winning this game, even though they did not have all their players. The coach gives advice for his players, and after that, the locker room gradually gets louder and louder, with each player chanting out, “Yeeeeaaaaah!” They break it down with a huddle yelling, “Panthers!” and “Family!”  Everyone runs back out on the court, ready to continue the battle with the other team.  

The boys sophomore basketball team ended the season with a 4-25 record. The team had great talent, but could not pull through with as many wins as they had hoped. There were many issues that came about this season with players being bumped up to varsity, members leaving the team, and injuries. Although the season was rough, there is no denying that this team played with everything they had each and every game.

 This season was completely different to what the sophomores had anticipated. Last year, the freshman team finished with a record of 18-9. This record was one of the best freshman basketball team records in RLHS’s recent history. The sophomores really struggled with the transition from their wildly successful freshman year. In fact, many of the players struggled with how to put this season into words. Musiq Brantley, who plays the guard position simply said, “ Terrible.” Although few players were not happy with this season, others tried to be optimistic about it. “ I am a little sad, but on the other hand, baseball season starts, so I’m alright,” said guard Wyatt Hill. Baseball is Hill’s main sport, so it is not all completely dire for him. Even though each player had different feelings toward the season, there is no denying there were games that will always be memorable to them.

 There were 29 games in total this season. Out of every game, there was only one that will always be remembered by the players. “The Grayslake North game, definitely,” said guard Quamain Smith. “We fought hard throughout the game and players were playing longer than they should have, but we got more intense as the game progressed.” Having lost some players to varsity and some to injuries, the sophomore team was shorthanded―in fact there were only six team members available to play, and they faced the Grayslake North Knights, a team that boasted a full roster. Although Knights had more players, that didn’t stop the Panthers from a hard-fought game. The outcome was a loss, but the heart and determination that the sophomores displayed was like no other.

 When asked about the most valuable player (MVP) of the team, there was not one that each player could agree on. Instead of an MVP, the players and coach thought of something different. “Everyone contributed on different games, we just couldn’t pull it all together,” said head sophomore coach, John Nicoline. Forward/guard, Jaylin Cunningham agreed, “ Every player had different attributes that impacted the team in a good way.” Each player had a strong suit, whether it was ball handling, shooting, hustle, rebounds, etc. These kinds of attributes were needed throughout the season to keep the team as a whole.

Overall, the season had its ups and downs. The team went from great success their freshmen year to a grim outcome their sophomore year. Although the team ended with a 4-29 record, they still hope for better next season. The Round Lakes Sophomore basketball team not only wants to have a better season next year, but to also bring back the pride in Round Lake High School. For far too long, Round Lake has been viewed as a substantial school when it comes to athletics and the sophomores want to change that. 
They want to bring back the successful team from last year so they bring great pride to the basketball program and the school.