CENTERBURG — Normally a young team has serious growing pains. This year, however, the Centerburg High School boys basketball team is proving to be very adept at the challenge of fielding a young and competitive team. The team is 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the Mid-Buckeye Conference and the future looks very bright.
“We are still learning,” said Centerburg head coach Jim Simpson. “We haven’t played our best basketball yet; we know we can get better. The kids believe that, and that’s huge. They are a great bunch of kids to work with.”
Centerburg fields a team that consists of two seniors, seven juniors and three sophomores. They have had to learn to use their skills to replace experience.
“These guys have had to grow up quick,” Simpson said. “Getting them to know they can play with the bigger boys is tough. This group has accepted that challenge and they are handling it very well.”
A major part of their success revolves around their senior leadership. With only two seniors on the team, leadership is a great responsibility. Jacob Byrley and Jacob White have had to take on that mantle.
As the senior starting point guard, White is essential to the team’s success.
“Being one of the two seniors, we have to step up and be leaders on this team,” White said. “The leadership is not necessarily going to come from the younger kids; it will eventually, but I know I have to step up and take on that leadership.”
Simpson knows that leadership is a must for this team’s success. He relies on his leaders to bring this team closer every day. For a young team, camaraderie is expected.
“I think things are clicking for us,” Simpson said. “Jacob White has taken some very good senior leadership for us. We are just starting to get to know each other a little bit, but these guys have been together for a while. That’s a key; they know each other and they run around together outside of basketball. That’s huge for us.
“They are excited,” Simpson continued. “More than they have been in a good while. We are playing with intensity and that’s been a big difference.”
The future looks pretty strong for this year’s young Centerburg team, but there is still a lot of season left. White is well aware of what it will take for the team to maintain its present pace and build off its early achievements.
“We want to come out and play our hardest,” said White. “We want to be great. It’s been a real fun season so far. The games have been a blast and we are having fun out there. We are capable of many things, we just have to put our minds to it. We have to practice hard and then show it in games. We can’t expect to win games, we have to work for it.”
Both the freshman team and the junior varsity squads are having excellent seasons for the Trojans and Simpson will soon have a completely restocked roster. This year’s varsity squad looks to set the bar high for the future of Centerburg basketball, and based on their current success that bar is sky high.