Varsity basketball secures first 6A win against spirited Oak Ridge team


photo or infographic by Cooper York

PLAYING HARD. During the game against the Oak Ridge Eagles, senior Terrance Patterson scored 10 points.

The starters for each team have been announced on the speaker and the boys from each team are out on the court. The stands are full of supportive students and family members. The coaches are standing on the sidelines, ready to talk their boys through the upcoming game. The ref walks out onto the court, ball in hand and the boys step up for tip-off. The whistle blows, the ball is thrown and the boys jump high up in the air. 

The boys varsity basketball team played Grand Oaks on Tuesday and won 74-52. The boys have worked hard to be on the same level as their 6A competitors and their work is beginning to pay off after dealing with COVID restrictions and moving from 5A to 6A.

“Getting that win Tuesday night meant so much to me because I got to do it with a great group of guys, and I couldn’t ask for a better team to play with,” senior Tanner Davis said. “The energy from the fans and teammates was a big help. We couldn’t do it without any of them and that win gave us the confidence we need to push through the rest of the season.”

HARD WORK PAYS OFF. Helping his team get the win, senior Tanner Davis works hard on the court. (photo or infographic by Cooper York )

The atmosphere of varsity basketball is very different compared to middle school basketball and freshman Tyshon Nixon is enjoying every second of it. 

“It felt good to win our first district game,” Nixon said. “The energy was definitely there throughout the whole game. The crowd and the bench played a big role in hyping us up. We played hard and were able to knock down shots and come out on top.”

The game moved at a very fast pace and each player was very into it, especially when the score was close. During the height of the game, something happened to junior Julian Pelayo that allowed him to show just how devoted he was to the sport. 

FREE THROWS. Team captain Julian Pelayo scored a total of 18 points against Oak Ridge. (photo or infographic by Cooper York)

“I lost my contact in the first half and missed three of my four free throws,” Pelayo said. “I’m usually a solid free throw shooter, so I knew that I couldn’t finish out the game with one contact. I asked Coach for a sub, and when I came out I asked my mom to give me her contact. I ran out of the gym and went to put in my mom’s contact. Then the second half began and that’s when the game started flowing for us. I could finally see clearly, and I finished the game with 18 points, 15 of those were after getting my mom’s contact. I want to thank everyone who came out and supported us on Tuesday night. We loved the energy that everyone brought to the game.”

The Wildkat basketball team has eight more district games, and after such a big and exciting win, the boys are ready to move onto the next game and meet their opponents head on. 

“Our first district win felt great because it’s been a tough journey for this group we have,” senior Colton Taylor said. “My teammates and I went into the game with intentions of turning it all around, and I feel like we accomplished that. We wanted to start the game with a lot of energy for our fans to feed off of, and that’s what we did. That’s Willis basketball now. We are building a culture of hustle and hard work, and everybody around Willis can count on us to leave it all out there every night.”