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021110_bball

The Bulldogs blew past Lockland on Wednesday, Feb. 3, setting them back 77–67 with high scorer Ryan Newsome putting up 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Will Ripley, above, scored 16, Ian Wimberly had 11, and AJ Wagner put up 10 points.

Boys basketball team wins for fun

Tied with Emmanuel Christian for number one in the Metro Buckeye Conference and holding up a 12–2 record three-fourths of the way through the season, this year’s Yellow Springs High School boys varsity basketball team has raised eyebrows. Having steadily improved their record each year since suffering a 3–16 season in 2007, the Bulldogs are charging into tournament time with ambitious sights set on state. And if their shots don’t take them as far as their hopes, then this tight-knit squad of friends will leave the court this winter satisfied that they did their best as a team and had a lot of fun.

On a slow week last month, the squad of eight seniors and two sophomores talked about their experience so far this year. Most of the guys have been playing basketball together in the village since the fourth grade, Senior Ryan Newsome said. Kody McDonald came to YSHS this year, but as the nephew of former football coach Jerome Crosswhite, he has played with the local boys and feels like part of the community, he said. Senior Will Ripley came to Yellow Springs from Dayton Public Schools last year for a better academic program. Never having played organized basketball before, he is the tallest asset the relatively short team has, and he fits in well with the versatility all the players have adopted in the absence of a true post player who scores from under the net.

The eight seniors, including also Ian Wimberly, Davone Freeman, Ryan Phillips, Chris Johnson and Matt Rowe, create a depth of experience and leadership for the teammates, who tease each other like trusted buddies and hang out nearly every weekend at the home of their coach Brad Newsome, according to sophomores AJ Wagner and Greg Felder. Their ability to share both the ball and their roles on the court make the team a solid, well-rounded adversary for those who try to stand in their way, assistant coach Jason Randolph and “senior statesman” Mike Hickman said. Coach Newsome agreed.

“We’ve got nine multi-positional guys that can really contribute in scoring and during defense, which means on any night any one of them can have double figures in rebounds and scoring,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of unselfish guys.”

The team still has a lot of competition ahead of it. It still has to face teams outside the conference such as Dayton Jefferson, ranked first in the state for Division IV schools and claiming Adreian Payne, the 6′ 9″ senior who’s already been recruited for Michigan State. But Yellow Springs was ranked fifth in a recent Dayton Daily News regional poll, and the team is bound by one unique strength.

“The dynamic that makes this team special is that they genuinely like each other,” Newsome said. “There’s already a natural chemistry that makes the sacrifices more natural and makes it easier for them to do stuff for each other.”

Though they’ve won some and lost some this year, the team’s primary goal is to have fun. The next hurdle is to win the conference, and then shoot for the upper titles. Newsome is most concerned with getting the boys to work hard and be proud of their efforts.

“When you go through good times and bad times together, it can typically make you a little closer, and if you quit, you’ve missed the experience,” he said. “In striving to be your best, you can always live with what you’ve achieved.”

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