A new coach, a new team, and new leaders. The Hawks basketball team has had many changes this season. With the cancellation of the girl’s basketball program the girls will now join the boys to create one coed team. Sophomore Taylor Thompson is the only girl currently on the varsity team and has had a terrific start. Dr. Michelle Berry has taken over the program and so far has had great success.

The team had a solid start defeating rival Tanque Verde 54-45. The team finished second in the annual Boyd Baker tournament after a wild championship game with the final score being 44-37, a tough loss to Bisbee. The captains on the team are seniors Davis Byrne, Andrew Zlaket, Andrew Tinley, and Riley Breedlove.

Breedlove suffered an injury just a week before Boyd Baker. Breedlove is an important player on the team because of his 6’5” height and his four years of varsity experience; so this injury could not have come at a worse time. However, Breedlove hopes to make a big return against rival Desert Christian in January.

“I have a fracture in my foot called a Jones fracture. The metatarsal in my right foot has a pretty good crack in it,” said Breedlove. Although his injury was devastating for his basketball career, he continues to have faith in the team’s success despite his injury.

“This is probably the worst thing that could have happened my senior year. When you have been with the program for four years and are one of the captains it sucks to just sit back and watch everyone else play. Although, it’s important to keep a positive mentality for the better of the team,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove’s coaches and teammates are all hoping for a speedy recovery, however, they refuse to let it determine their success. Captain Davis Byrne added, “Losing Riley is really hard because we have no one like him. No one can match his size or his ability but we can’t let it bring us down or use it as an excuse when things aren’t going well.”

Captain Andrew Tinley has been using Breedlove’s injury as motivation to do well and make Breedlove proud. “It hurts to lose Riley. Not only is he a captain but he is also one of our leaders on the team. He is a major player. He does a lot for us on and off the court. So it gives us a drive to win for him, to make it far in the state tournament for him,” said Tinley.

The team continues to move forward with leading scorers Andrew Zlaket, sophomore Nick Rosquist, and freshman Addison Mort. The team’s defense has been unstoppable, however, Berry hopes to improve the team’s offense for the future. “Our offense is a little iffy. We’re just not in sync, we haven’t quite figured out our timing, and we don’t exactly know how to work together yet. We need to gel as a team offensively just as much as we have already defensively,” said Berry.

The team has demonstrated great unity according to captains Byrne and Tinley.

“I feel like we are playing as one cohesive unit, and there isn’t one single player that we are dependent upon like we have been in the past few years. Everyone has a defined role and as long as they play that role we will find great ways to win,” said Byrne.

“Our team chemistry is better than last year. We all know what we should do and we use our individual roles to come together and play as one team, not five individuals,” added Tinley.

The new leadership on the team has proven to be beneficial, and as the season goes on  the team will be able to continue their success. With talent from both underclassmen and upperclassman, the program will continue to build and hopefully result in a state championship.

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