By Beth Cox
The JCMS boys’ basketball team is shaping up to be one of the most successful teams in quite some time. Coach Mark McClain is delighted with his team and states they are exceptional players but better people. The boys have already played several games. They are currently undefeated in the conference with a 4-0 record. The Longhorns are projected to be some of the top contenders in the conference this year.
The eighth-grade varsity team has been playing together for several years. They started in the youth program and then through middle school. They have years of playing with and against each other works in knowing what each player can do and counting on them to do it on the court.
Carter Atwood and Carson Jennings have established themselves as leaders on the team. They know how to work well together and motivate the other players to do their best. Atwood is the only seventh-grader on the varsity team, but the basketball community knows he has been playing since he was a toddler and has followed his dad, JCHS basketball coach Austin Atwood step for step. He is unafraid and unapologetic. Jennings is right there with Atwood. He is a hard worker, gives it all he has, and is a solid team player. Landon Lipford, Juan Mejia, and Darren Chappell finish off the starting five. Mejia is a natural athlete, Lipford can get points on the board, and Chappell is getting more robust and consistent every game. All three players could easily contribute additional 12-14 points.
The supporting eighth-grade players are Jack Csillag, Hunter Paisley, Kaden Blevins, and Dylan Warren. Paisley’s speed will benefit the team.
Blevins and Warren are two strong guards who can get the needed baskets. Joseph Church, Andrew Long, and Chris Wilson are supportive players a team needs; they practice hard, are eager to learn, and are ready to play. McClain gives his team one of the best compliments, “ I feel this team is a once in a generation team to coach. They like each other and get along; good kids, good parents. We expect big things from them.
The JV (seventh-grade boys) have missed a lot due to COVID-19; they missed the valuable lessons with youth leagues, but they have improved over several practices. Braxton Bragg is the JV point guard, and Eli Tester is the lead scorer. Tester had 20 points in his last game against Greeneville.
Kyle Maple is a great rebounder averaging about ten rebounds a game, while Graham Long is a guard but can also play post. Oliver Pritchard, Dylan Reece, Jacob Frauenthal, Grayson Espinoza are additional guards for the team.
The team is also contributing to the team are Gavin Mahala, Hunter McElyea, Ian Lewis, and Garret Ward.
The JV team is currently 4-1 in the conference