The boys’ varsity basketball team is back and encouraging others to join!
The AHS boys’ basketball team is back after a huge two-year hiatus, and the athletes are very excited to show their practiced skill.
Many students tried out this year. In American High School sports, Coach Edward Villatoro or Coach Ed for short, explains the different procedures as a result of the pandemic.
“[There are] three basketball teams: freshman, JV, and varsity, and for the three teams combined, we had 115 players try out, which is a lot because we only keep about 14 on each team. So out of those 115 about 4 to 2 [sophomores] will make it.”
Coach Ed, who saw that more students attended than usual, points out, “We usually have one sophomore that makes the leap to varsity. But, it’s unusual to have more than one or two and this year we’re going to have four [sophomores].”
Because of the increase in the student population leading to a massive number of people trying out for the team, not everyone makes the cut. However, Coach Ed expresses his gratitude for those who tried out, saying, “We definitely don’t want less kids trying out. We welcome everybody that wants to try out, to try out.”
The atmosphere during tryouts was full of enthusiasm. Coach Ed observes that “[The] kids are excited and looking forward to the first game. What they want is that they want to start playing real games.”
A junior athlete, Kelvin Sekigahama, describes his personal experience of trying out.
“It was a positive atmosphere. It didn’t feel like an actual trial, everyone was friendly with each other. We all wanted to improve as a team. So even though it was considered a trial, everyone was supportive.”
Sports is a nice way to show friendly competition, however high school sports boosts up the level of commitment and effort.
Sahaj Bahia (10), who is a new athlete from Thornton Junior High School, points out key differences. He states that “Highschool is a lot more serious and in Thornton you could be messing around and goofing off. Meanwhile here, you have to be more serious and listen to the coach more. You have to show effort because it helps you get better and improve.” Bahia has grown more appreciative of the coach, saying, “He’s always trying to help. If he sees you doing something wrong and you’re trying to fix it, he’s gonna help you out. He wants you to improve and be the best.”
Although Coach Ed has been working hard to create a positive atmosphere, there are still things remaining on his wishlist. He states, “I wish we had two gyms. The school has been open since 1974, some schools have gotten new or bigger gyms. We still have the same facility when the school opened. As far as new classrooms go, the school is built for 1500 kids, not 2400.”
Ben Satica (12), a player with 3 years of varsity experience, agrees.
“Our practices used to be 2 hours and last year our practices were an hour and a half. So the average max is about an hour and 45 minutes which isn’t bad but that extra 15 minutes could help give a play down. We could use the MPR but the floor is not great, it’s constantly dirty so a second gym would really help.”
Sekigahama notices that a large number of people did not make the tryouts. His relief is evident as he says, “I really worked hard and it makes me feel good since I’m able to play and represent the school.” Bahia adds in agreement, “It makes me feel welcomed knowing that I have a lot of potential.”
Satica gives a word of advice to people apprehensive about pursuing basketball at American, stating, “Sometimes the crowd helps me because I want to impress them. I want to make sure they came to the game for the right reason. If the crowd makes you nervous, try to focus on the court because if you focus on the crowd then you’re focusing on the wrong thing.” Sekigahama adds on by saying, “Play like no one is watching because a lot of the times when you feel like you’re being watched, you want to perform a specific way to the coach. Play your game you know how to do well and focus on those things with a lot of heart and passion. And I think you’ll do well.”