‘Deserve Victory’

After completing a long season, the boys’ varsity basketball team managed to finish up with 17 victories, setting a school record for most wins during a season for boys’ basketball. Along with the record, comes their first victory in the district tournament since the 2009 season.

“Our record was 17-11 this year,” Coach Tony Riopelle said. “Our winning percentage was 60.3 percent, which is the highest winning percentage we’ve ever had and also the most wins we’ve ever had in a season. As a team we set 10 school records as a whole for boys’ basketball and those are just two of the 10.”

Senior and co-captain Ayden Lew broke his pinky finger early during the second preaseason game of the year, causing him to miss about four weeks of a season. Lew said he didn’t take a second for granted.

“I’m really proud of what we did,” Lew said. “I mean it’s not everyone’s privilege to say that they were a part of one of the best teams to ever play for West Shore. I think this experience was just so great because it showed everyone’s dedication and passion for the game and just that we were able to do something no team has ever done before. I don’t really think that it’s sunk in yet that we’re one of the best, but it’s just such a great accomplishment and we’re all very proud of each other.”

Sophomore Auston Gonzalez made his presence felt this season, especially early on. Gonzalez made seven 3-pointers against Covenant Christian on Dec. 6. 

“I’m proud to be a part of what the team was able to accomplish this year,” Gonzalez said. “I had no doubt in my mind that this would be the best basketball team West Shore has ever had because we all played for each other rather than ourselves, and I’ve never seen an entire squad of players do that for a whole season. We played well on the court, but the fact that we were a family off the court made setting the record that more special.”

Despite the boys’ record-breaking season, senior and co-captain Juan Rodriguez is left unsatisfied with the way his part of the season ended due to suffering a severe ankle sprain during the Jr./Sr. Pride Tournament.

“It [stinks] because I wasn’t out there to play our last game,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know if it would have made a difference in the win/loss column whether I played or not, but it would’ve been a different style of play. It honestly just [stinks] to sit on the bench and watch your team lose knowing you can’t do anything about it.”

Although nine out of the 13 players will soon be leaving for college, senior and co-captain David Thompson is confident that next year’s team won’t disappoint.

“They’re going to have a really tough time because they’re going to be in the Cape Coast Conference next season,” Thompson said. “But I feel that if the four returning players can show the JV kids moving up how to win and how to play, then they’ll be successful.”

By Taylor Smith and Ahjaney Friar