The Flappy Falcon

South Valley Basketball – 2018 Season

LINDA SACAUSKAS PHOTOGRAPHY

LINDA SACAUSKAS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Did you know if you play sports you have a reduced chance for failing your classes? Sports have always been important to me.  The first sport I played and took seriously was football. I would always be playing passback or two hand touch with my brother and cousins before I started playing in Pop Warner. Football was the main reason I tried in school, until I started playing basketball. The first time I tried out for basketball, I tried out for my 7th grade team and I got cut on the first day. I was sad about it, but that just made me want to play more and more. I used to play during lunch and break a lot or at my house when I got home. I usually played for a couple hours, just shooting and doing layups. After a couple years I got a lot better and made the freshman basketball team. After that season I stopped playing basketball and kept my focus on school and football. Then, after a year, I came to South Valley and basketball is a big thing here so I started playing again, even though I was pretty bad and had bad knees from football. My first year at South Valley I couldn’t play basketball for the team because of my knees and I was in physical therapy. So this year I decided to try it out and a lot of my friends wanted me to play, including our coach Freddie Veres. Hopefully this year will be fun and our team will do well.

This year’s South Valley team looks almost unstoppable, from Tyson the shooter to Seth the rebounding specialist.  Our Falcons have a great roster of defensive players, finishers, shooters, ball handlers, etc. We have the height and we have the skill to go undefeated in City League this year. However, nothing comes easy, and if we don’t work hard, it won’t happen. The first practice of the year went great, but we still need to work on a lot of things like team chemistry and learning how we all play. While working on plays, I noticed that most of our team wants to shoot the ball whenever they have it. We need to work on passing it around, talking on defense and offense, and moving around to get open off the ball. Each of us should know where our hotspots are and what shots we will likely make. For example, I shouldn’t always be shooting threes because it’s not my shot. Sure I can make it, but I know where my spots are and where on the floor I can consistently score from. I feel like we just need more practice learning each others hot spots and our style of playing.

This year our team had 19 people that signed up for the team, but 6 of them are already off the team because of either grades, bad attitude or because they can’t commit to going to practice and following all the rules. So far we have 9 out of 13 people already on the team and our roster goes: Me, Tyson, Darrell, Seth, Ezra, Dominic, Alex, Dylan and Noah. Our starting lineup so far is looking like Darrell , Dylan, Tyson , Ezra and me or Seth. Our starting lineup is really talented and we all have the skills to play the position perfectly and do our roles. Darrell is a good ball handler, a slasher, and most importantly he can pass the ball. Dylan is one of the better shooters on the team so it would make sense that he would be the shooting guard, but he doesn’t just shoot, he can also pass and dribble the ball. Tyson is literally one of a kind. He can do anything on the court offensively and defensively. Tyson is an amazing shooter, ball handler, finisher, and he has lockdown defense. Ezra is also one of the best players on our team. He’s a big man that can post up and finish, but he’s also an excellent defender, shooter, and he has handles like a point. I’m more of a defensive player than offensive, however, I’m also a great mid-range shooter, I can hit the fades from the post to the 3s, pass the ball, and I have exceptional basketball IQ. Next is our bench but they are just as good as our starting lineup. Seth is our rebounding specialist; he’s so tall and a great putback finisher. Dom is another superb shooter from corner 3s to high post shots, contested or fade aways, he’ll find a way to make it. Alex is our defensive chase down artist, he’ll either steal the ball or block it with his quickness. Noah is a good player to put out behind the arc and have cut, he’s a shooter and if we need a quick three, he has the range. Our team has a lot of talent both on and off the court. We’ve worked hard in school and on the court to stay on the team and we’re all committed to keep it that way and win all our games.

The Ukiah City League is a program that lets anyone kid from kindergarten to 12th graders play basketball.  There are over 1,200 kids who signed up to compete in one of the five leagues — based on the grade of the kid — the Ukiah City League formed this year. Each team plays the other teams in its league once, and the high school boys and girls leagues also have an end of the year tournament. The Ukiah City League also offers basketball skills and training camps to help the kids’ skills get better. One of the teams in the high school division appears to be like all of the other teams on the surface, but in reality there is much more going on than you know about.  That team is the South Valley squad.

This is my first year on the Falcons and I’m excited to see what happens this season. From our guards to our bigs, we have an all around team with speed, handles, etc. However, the team isn’t just for fun, it’s also helping us players with extra credits in school and encouraging us to keep our grades and attendance up to stay on the team. We all signed a contract and promised our coach/teacher to keep up with our work and follow all the rules. The contract explains how we have a minimum credit requirement to stay on the team and if we ever miss school days, are tardy in class, get referrals or suspended, we can get kicked off the team or be benched for the game that week. The contract also states that we cannot miss a practice or else we’ll lose playing time in the game that week. We are playing 8 games this season, not including playoffs.  We also get to go on a NBA court and play against another continuation school from Santa Rosa. We have raised the money to go to the NBA  game by having a Free-Throw-A-Thon during winter break. The gym we’ve been using for practice and raising the money is the Yokayo gym, so I would like to thank Mrs. Melani for allowing us to play in the gym.  None of the other teams in the City League has to honor a contract and work in school like we do, they can play no matter what.  However, they don’t get the opportunities we do — earning credit, playing on an NBA court, and playing other school teams.  So, while the South Valley team might look like every other team in City League, that simply isn’t true.   We have more pressure on us to be “good” students and citizens, and we get rewarded when we are.

Come see South Valley, and other City League teams, play.  It is nice to have crowds to play in front of.  

The schedule is here:

http://www.cityofukiah.com/NewWeb/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Boys-HS-9-teams-SHCEDULE-2.pdf

For schedules for all ages, boys and girls, go here:

http://www.cityofukiah.com/youth-sports/

 

We hope to see you there!

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