By Jalen Checo
Another exciting and compelling LREI Boy’s Varsity Basketball season has come to an end. While it was a rough season for the team, there continues to be lots of improvement. The team recently had their last game of the season, also known as the Senior Game, on Thursday, February 2nd, in which the varsity team said goodbye to seniors Jibril Lawal, Aidan Ostermaier, Milo Romaguera and Alex Gonzalez. In an effort to take a deeper look behind the scenes of the team, I decided to meet with some of the players to hear their experience.
In speaking to various players, including senior Jibril Lawal and juniors, Markese Redding and Christian Sandiford, coaching seemed to be an important topic. While many shared the sentiment that the coaching was largely good, there were some moments of dissatisfaction.
“The coaches are too lenient,” said Redding, “[On previous teams I’ve been on] players knew their roles.” Lawal echoed this sentiment, explaining that “there is lack of professionalism and players wanna do stuff they can’t do.”
In addition to too little restraint on what players can do, there is a sense that coaches Arjay Perovic and Peter Martin aren’t fair to certain players.
“The coaches sometimes try to make an example [out of a specific player],” said Lawal, giving an example of a time he was benched after missing practice despite scoring an impressive 19 points in a previous game against EF Academy.
Aside from coaching, several of the players I spoke with mentioned the addition of freshman to varsity, a change that has received a mixed response.
“I thought about what they did with adding freshman to varsity and it was a bit confusing, at first,” said Lawal, explaining that a freshman hasn’t been on the varsity team since Noel Diggs was added to the team six years ago.
Despite initial concerns, the change seems to be a welcome one, with many freshman players proving themselves to be strong additions to the team. One, however, stands out. When asked who the biggest surprise contributor has been this season, the universal answer was freshman Nissim Hershkovits.
“At first, I thought, he’s a freshman. But he really really proved himself –– he impressed the team,” said Lawal. Redding shared a similar opinion, describing Hershkovits as a “collective, reliant shooter, [who] has a good basketball IQ”.
The team also expressed their aspirations for closing out the year.
“We have to win the senior game for my seniors, gotta win one for Aidan,” said Redding, referring to their dominant center Aidan Ostermaier who seriously injured his ankle midway through the season.
While the team did not win the senior game with a 66-69 loss to the Browning school, the team made it a memorable one, with an ending that surprised everyone. Ostermaier, barely able to run, came in late and with the clock running out and hit a buzzer beater 3 pointer, marking an impressive end to his LREI basketball career. Ultimately, despite the loss of several key senior players this year, the team is still working hard for the next season and plan on putting all their effort into making the best team they can come next fall.