Basketball team plays in first homecoming game

The cheers from the crowd echo through the gym, bouncing off the shiny floors and mixing with the squeak of basketball shoes. Tonight is GHS’s first Homecoming basketball game.

“I think it is great we are having a Homecoming game this year,” senior Devin Lester, forward, said. “Football has always gotten the love with Homecoming and a pep rally, and it is nice to have one for basketball this year too.”

Tonight’s game is against Perry Meridian.

“Last year, we beat Perry by 20, but this year they have a new coach, Mark James, making them a whole different team,” Lester said. “Normally, a Mark James coached team is very disciplined, and normally Perry is a very aggressive team, so as of now I am unsure how those two aspects have blended.”

Many starters have high expectations for tonight.

“I am looking forward to tonight because the atmosphere will be really exciting to play in due to the fact that it is our first homecoming game,” junior Bryce Hoffman, guard, said. “I expect the team to compete at the highest level possible and to really go out on the court and give it our all. Personally, my goal is to be the best teammate possible. I am extremely excited and think it is very cool that we get a Homecoming, too. It should be fun.”

Although tonight is the Homecoming game, setting it apart from others, the players still have pregame rituals they swear by.

“Before every game, I have to do two things,” senior TJ Price said. “I always roll my socks and eat peanut butter crackers before.”

Lester also has a ritual before he steps on the court.

“My pregame ritual is before my name is announced, I always pray and make sure my mom is watching over me and my team for the game,” Lester said.

Although they are looking good this season, the boys know how to stay motivated after a loss.

“After we lose a game, I just try to work harder and channel the mistakes I made, so they don’t happen again,” Hoffman said.

Price has a similar way to deal with losses.

“Every loss to me is a learning experience,” Price said. “We realize what we did wrong, learn from our mistakes, work to fix them, and use that knowledge to improve our game.”

Due to the fact that it is the first Homecoming basketball game, there will be large crowds tonight. Although the fans will be noisy, the players will not let it affect their game play negatively.

“Honestly, the crowd doesn’t make much of a difference because most of the time I don’t even hear anything the student sections say,” Lester said. “The only time a crowd affects my play is when we are making a run and our crowd gets loud and excited, but that is a positive effect that helps the team.”

There will be a lot of excitement brought to the gym tonight due to the special circumstances, which is encouraging to the team.

“I am looking forward to the game and being able to bring all the excitement of a homecoming week and the themes to an end with a win,” Lester said. “I expect there to be a lot of excitement in this game due to the dance after, and I think we will handle it well and be able to end with a win before the dance.”

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