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Lucky Number Seven

Varsity Boys Basketball heads to the playoffs seeking their seventh straight State Championship.

Junior Justin Webster goes up for the basket against Bishop Lynch. The Lions went on to win, 56-54.

photo by Nathaniel Sladky

Junior Justin Webster goes up for the basket against Bishop Lynch. The Lions went on to win, 56-54.

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Seven. There are seven wonders of the world, seven days in a week, seven colors in the rainbow, and seven notes in a musical scale. The number seven signifies completion and achievement. And it is the number swirling around in the minds of each Varsity Boys Basketball player.

photo by Chaz Mayhew
The Silent Night crowd cheers on Junior Cinque Stephens against Liberty Christian. The Lions dominated the Warriors, 74-47.

After earning a State Title last March for the sixth year in a row, the Varsity Boys Basketball team returns to the playoffs for another chance at victory. They all have their eyes set on one thing: a seventh straight State Championship.

The recent success of the team has created a culture of winning for the Lions. Fans expect a State Championship every year, and with that comes pressure.

Varsity Boys Basketball Coach David Conrady said, “It’s always difficult to defend a Championship. That is magnified when you are defending six straight. Our biggest challenge is to ‘get back to work’ doing the things that have allowed our basketball program to have such tremendous success.”

Junior Cinque Stephens said, “If we lose, we will forever be remembered as the team that broke the streak.” No one, no teacher, student, administrator or athlete, wants that streak to be broken. This added pressure motivates the team to work hard and to try to live up to the expectations that basketball teams from years prior have accomplished.

Senior Mateo Escheik shuts down the Liberty Christian offense.

Although the team lost five strong players from last season, it is far from lacking in strength, with power-packed leadership coupled with a burst of fresh energy from new players.

Coach Conrady said, “We return four Seniors from last year’s championship team: Mateo Escheik, Beck Atkins, Tyler Euting and Nathan McKenzie. One of our strengths should be leadership. We also return First Team All-State selections Mateo Escheik and Justin Webster. They will provide us much needed stability.”

Justin, a Junior who hit 1,500 career points this season, said, “Everybody is going to give us their best shot because they know what we can do.” Tyler said, “We have really great team chemistry which helps us work well together.”

photo by Nathaniel Sladky
Senior Tyler Euting crashes to the basket in the Lions win over Trinity Christian, 50-41.

The toughest district opponent during the season proved to be the Bishop Lynch Friars (33-5). The Lions (25-8) defeated them in a close one at home, 56-54, but took a tough road loss at the end of the season, 41-47. The teams will meet again in the State semi-finals with the Friars no doubt seeking revenge after the Lions beat them last year by three points in the State Championship game.

First, both teams must face tough challengers. The Lions’ side of the bracket takes them towards Tomball Concordia Lutheran (39-1), and Bishop Lynch will need to get past Antonian College Prep (32-6).

Full of talent, the Lions are constantly finding ways to improve. Justin said, “We have more experience at the Varsity level than last year, and we perform best on offense, but on the defensive side of the court we do not lock in as much.”

The players are intentionally working on their defense, along with refining their skillset as a team for the run ahead which will bring the defining moments of their season.

The team opens the playoffs this weekend playing Beaumont Monsignor Kelly Catholic (14-18), Friday, Feb. 23, at A&M Consolidated High School Gym in College Station. Round two will also be held there Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Follow the tournament bracket at http://tappster.com.

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