HoopCats look ahead towards a promising new season

Business is booming on the court as the Varsity Boys Basketball team sinks another shot to defeat Pope by roughly 20 points. Nov. 18. marked the official beginning of the varsity boys’ basketball season. On Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, Roswell High School hosted Westminster and many other schools at the 2017 Rotary Honor Air Flight Invitational. The HoopCats played their first two games, taking on the West Ashley Wildcats and the Pope Greyhounds, gaining a loss and a win respectively. Both teams provided sound competition, however this competition will ultimately prove helpful to the Cats.

“Playing more challenging teams forces us to grow as a group,” said sophomore David Perchik. “If we always played teams worse than us, there would be no way to improve.”

Wildcat fans have plenty to look forward to this year, as the varsity boys have over 15 home games, not to mention multiple games with well-known rivals Pace (Jan. 23, away, and Dec. 8, at home) and Lovett (Jan. 9, away, and Feb. 2, away). After two losses to Pace last year and the Cats’ close loss to Lovett in double overtime last January, the Cats are out for blood. Needless to say, these games should not be missed.

Although the team lost plenty of talent last year in the form of seven seniors, they have plenty of new and promising talent, welcoming three new sophomores and five new juniors to the team. This new blood can be a good thing, adding new drive and passion to the group.

“Being new to the team means lots of teachable moments,” said Perchik. “It’s awesome being part of a great community like this.”

The team only has one senior this year: senior Paris Howland. Howland is a Cornell University track and field commit, proving his unbelievable speed and strength, which only adds to the Cats’ talent.

The HoopCat boys promise big things this season, as they hope to live up to their motto: “Hard. Smart. Together.”

The varsity girls’ basketball team also has a lot to look forward this upcoming year, with a load of home and away games, although their schedule does appear challenging in quantity of games and quality of opponent.

Junior Kate Carson concurs that this year’s schedule appears intimidating.

“Although we have a tough schedule this year, I’m very excited to see what my team can accomplish as the season progresses,” said Carson.

The team may appear small this year, but what they lack in size, they make up for in passion.

“Even though we have a small team, I’m excited to get closer with my teammates,” said sophomore Taylor Thomas.

Thomas has a fair point, as along with small size naturally comes a tightly-knit team, allowing for success on and off the court.

Every girl on the team this year has dedicated themselves to a long and grueling season of workouts and games, and practices led by Coaches Amanda Barksdale and  Heather Karvis. The team center itself around not only skill, but faith. They focus mainly on verses from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and the idea that “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The team challenged their first opponent on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, at Roswell High School during the 2017 Rotary Honor Air Flight Invitational. The girls played Pebblebrook High School, unfortunately losing 83-39. Despite the tough loss, similarly to the aforementioned boys team, it is ultimately these great teams that push the girls to do their best. However, with upcoming games against Blessed Trinity, McNair, Stone Mountain, and Woodward successively, the team has a lot to look forward to, and plenty of time to fine-tune their skills.

Not only the varsity teams, but in the training programs, the JV boys and girls have jam-packed seasons as well. The boys team will face opponents such as Woodward, Lovett, GAC, and Pace, meaning a season full of rivalries and exciting games.

“It’s great being able to play on both the JV and Varsity teams so you get opponents from very different ends of the spectrum,” said sophomore Gus Karas.

The JV Girls also have a full season including home games against Pace and Riverwood. The team is small, allowing for close relationships with each other.

No matter which of these four high school teams Westminster students are supporting this winter, there is no doubt that the HoopCats will be one to watch this 2017-2018 upcoming season.