By Maleek Beauliere
Two years without winning a game. Two very long years.
Pathetic, point forward Freddy Saintelus says.
Depressing is what Shane Allen calls it. He’s been on the Warriors boys basketball team for three years, and he saw just how bad it could get.
“Coming in, we was all hot for the first game,” says Allen, a starting point guard. But after the first game, “our self-esteem was so low. People just quit.”
That all changed this season. Coach Nathan Wellman began reporting impressive victories against the Warriors’ main rivals.
On March 5, the team played Lake Worth, which “seems to always have a strong, deep, and athletic team.” The Warriors were down 17-7 but managed to come back, tying up the game in the third. “By the fourth, it was clear we were the best team on the court. At one point we had a 12-point lead.” Lake Worth came back a bit but couldn’t catch up; the Warriors won 36-31.
The team had another winning day on March 15, when the Warriors played Palm Springs.The game before, the Warriors had lost by a point, but not this time, Wellman said. “Shane and the Twins (Zeph and Zech Bennett) assaulted the Palm Springs point guards, taking away the size advantage inside the paint. As soon as they got close to midcourt, the swarm attacked. It was an awesome display of hustle,” the coach reported.
Saintelus said he felt like the team could “do more” this year because they had a good lineup.
Zech Bennett attributed it to good relationships. “Our chemistry is better,” he said. “We played outside of school, like weekends, Fridays.”
The biggest moment of the season came, though, when the Warriors took on Lake Worth again on March 28. Wellman called it “one for the ages.”
“That last game allowed us to get to the playoffs. We hadn’t even won a game in the last two years,” he said. “Freddy had 5 points in the last 20 seconds to win it for us, including a 3-pointer.” Steals by David Murcia and the Bennett twins helped enable the win.
The team finished the regular season 6-4 and second in the division.
Allen won the coaches award because he kept coming back all three years, and “he really led the team,” Wellman said.
David Murcia won most valuable player, and the Bennett twins shared the most improved player award, he said.