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Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Boys basketball team starts season with strong culture, high goals

Bella Tederman
As senior Jack Edwards sets a screen on the defender, senior Joey Benjamin drives around the screen and into the hoop. Benjamin contributed two points and Edwards contributed four points to the team’s total of 30 points against the West Point-Beemer Cadets.

As any sports season begins, adjusting to a new team dynamic after losing key players can be difficult to accomplish. For the Chieftain boys basketball team, however, this transition has created an even better culture among the players. 

“The seniors know what it looks like to have the culture where it needs to be and where the energy needs to be,” head coach Jesse Gardner said. “So for the guys to know to give it to the younger guys has been huge.”

Even though they are starting with a strong culture, the seniors recognize there’s still work to do as the season begins.

“Last year, we had two starting seniors who really greatly impacted us and kind of led us the whole way,” senior Connor Engel said. “So now we have to find new leaders and fill in the gaps that were left behind.”

Senior Braxton Wentworth prepares to pass the ball while on offense against Elmwood-Murdock. The Chieftains beat the Knights 35-29. (Bella Tederman)

Among the five seniors working to fill those gaps is Joey Benjamin.

“I want to step up to be the voice of the team,” Benjamin said. “As a senior, I lead everyone else.”

While the seniors are focusing on their leadership skills, the team as a whole has been practicing a variety of skills to prepare for the upcoming season.

“We’re really trying to focus on the things we can control and being good teammates and playing harder than everybody else,” Gardner said. “Then everything else will take care of itself.”

Walking into a tough schedule with multiple C-1 teams, the Chieftains know they will need to take the season one day at a time.

“A challenge will just be playing every game and not looking past anybody that we face,” senior Braxton Wentworth said.

Driving into the hoop, junior AJ Arensberg shoots over his defender. Arensberg had seven points against Elmwood-Murdock. (Bella Tederman)

Not only are the Chieftains prepared to play hard against tough opponents, but they are also hoping these main focuses will help them achieve big goals by the end of the season.

“The main goal for the team would be to make the district finals,” senior Jack Edwards said. “I think if we play the best that we can, then we will win that district.”

This thought of a district final and possible state tournament run is what motivates many of the players to practice hard every day.

“I want to make state,” junior AJ Arensberg said. “It’s been my dream to make state forever.”

For now, though, the team is keeping their sights on shorter-term goals.

“We want to take care of our effort and our toughness and our defense and then just try to get a little bit better each day,” Gardner said. “We want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”

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About the Contributors
Maycee Hays
Maycee Hays, Senior writer
Maycee Hays is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures at school events and writing feature stories.  Outside journalism, Maycee is involved in softball, cheer, powerlifting, club softball, speech, and NHS.
Bella Tederman
Bella Tederman, Senior writer
Bella Tederman is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys writing stories and taking pictures. Outside journalism, Bella is involved in volleyball, CrossFit, powerlifting, track, speech, FBLA, FCA and NHS.
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