After an up and down year, the season is over for the Boys’ Basketball team, and they have now had time to reflect and discuss the season as a whole.
The Bengals finished the season at 9-15 with a .500 record in the conference. They were led in scoring by Sophomore Raef Hetherington, Senior Donnell Whitmore, and Senior Ibrahim Kanu, who averaged 11.6, 11.5, and 11.4 points per game, respectively. Kanu, who transferred to Blake this year, believes the team never truly reached its full potential.
Kanu says, “Honestly if you look at what we were capable of doing, the way the season went was the complete opposite.” The Bengals had many bright spots on the team, such as Hetherington being tied for third in three-pointers in Montgomery County, but they struggled to put it all together at times throughout the season.
Coming into the season, the Bengals had some very big goals. The team was thinking as big as the state championship for accomplishments to achieve, but Senior Forward Stanley Gaima says the season just didn’t go as planned due to a lack of communication. Gaima says, “ We didn’t get to states and we never clicked as a team.”
The lack of communication played a pivotal role throughout the season, especially on the defensive end. Calling out screens and switches are vital parts of a functioning team defense, but the Bengals often had holes left in the defense because people didn’t talk to each other during play.
Midway through the season, Senior Forward Reggie Pope pointed this out as a key weakness of the team. He says, “We can all play defense, but we don’t communicate, so that is our weakness.” Later in the season, they did improve on their defense, dropping their opponents’ points per game by nearly 8 points.
Both Kanu and Gaima were transfers this year, Kanu from Paint Branch and Gaima from Springbrook. There were more than four other transfers on the team in addition to these two, which could have led to the lack of communication between the team. An extra season to play together and the team may have connected more.
Kanu kept it short and simple when asked why the team didn’t mesh like it could have. He says, “It was probably because of egos and we weren’t all on the same page.” Kanu also pointed out one-on-one basketball as a result of the egos.
The team will still be returning 10 people from this years squad next year. This could give them time to bond and grow together as a team. When asked about advice he has for next years team, Kanu says, “Just work on the holes of the game and erase that selfish mentality.”