B-Ball No Longer in Free Fall

Boys Basketball Gearing Up for a Big Season

Boys+basketball+practice

Van Dougherty

Boys basketball practice

Ravyn Cullor, Web Editor

In the first year of the Tafel basketball administration, the team and the coach settled into Rocky. In the second they hit their groove, and in the third they might have a shot at a conference title.

After a disappointing season in the 2013-2014 boys’ basketball season, former coach Jon Rakiecki resigned. Brian Tafel was hired during the 2014-2015 season, when he began to build a team. In his first season as head coach, the team only won 5 games. The year after, they more than doubled their winning record, and made it to state playoffs for the first time in years.

We want to get the community excited about basketball.”

— Brian Tafel

As the team gears up to start their season on November 30, both Tafel and the players hope to carry the momentum from last season through the regular season and  into the playoffs. The team has set its goals for the year, and as Tafel simply put it, “We want to win the conference.”

With two seniors, three juniors, and a sophomore returning to varsity, along with a handful of promising players moving up from lower teams, Tafel is hoping to reap the rewards of the growth developed in a successful off season. He praised the off-season growth of a number of players whom he expects to be leading the team this year.

As the team breaks into this season, they are hoping to see an improvement via the continued development of the program.

“In my second year of running the program…kids got a better idea of game play, my coaching style and philosophy, (and) they further bought (into the team),” Tafel said.  

“We have an older, more mature team going into this year,” three-year varsity player Ryan Hutcheson said. “We have a lot more confidence as a program.”

Of course, to win the title the team will have to overcome their shortcomings from last year. Their vision is twofold: better translation of success in practice to success in games, and being able to push through a matchup against a better team to come out on top.

“When we play well, we play fast,” Hutcheson said. “As long as we don’t get down on ourselves or do stuff differently than we know how to do, we can win.”

The team is setting high hopes for the season, not only for their play on the court, but for their place in the Rocky community. “We want to represent Rocky, as something the school can be proud of,” Tafel said. “We want to get the community excited about basketball.”

Whether they make it to playoffs or not, whether they win the conference title or not, the coaches and the players are keeping the real purpose of high school sports in mind: growth.

“Since Tafel has become our coach, we’ve been able to grow as a team,” Hutcheson said. “I see that going on into the future.”