Teamwork keys win streak

Brittany Allen/Observer

Brittany Allen/Observer

Austin Bennett, Assistant Sports Editor

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Central’s men’s basketball team has been rolling early in the season, winning five games in a row lead by an offense that is averaging 81.2 points per game.

The Wildcats are 4-2 in the GNAC and 9-2 overall. Both losses came against the Alaska schools who sit at first and third in the GNAC standings.

To add to Central’s early offensive success, the team has had four players score 10 or more points during their five-game win streak.

The selflessness of each individual player has been the constant drive of the team’s determination. Bringing in players who are humble on the court was a key component in recruiting this team.

“That’s part of the reason we brought them in—guys that can play both sides of the ball and play unselfish,” assistant coach Drew Harris said.

Each player has come in with an unselfish attitude towards their teammates and understands that sharing the basketball is paramount.

“I would say it’s the unselfishness,” senior forward Joseph Stroud said about the team’s offensive success. “When we get those guys in there that are unselfish and are moving the ball really well, you can see it develop on the court.”

According to Stroud and Harris, the offensive gameplan is always to run the court. The team feels they have the best chance of success when they are running the floor.

“We want to run and transition to get the buckets that we need,” Stroud said.

Harris believes that the team has a lot of talented athletes that can score the ball with ease.

“We try to really get it out and run the floor and get transition points. I think we got a lot of good athletes that are good at scoring,” Harris said.

Harris is sticking with head coach Greg Sparling’s game plan and says he won’t change any of the offense during his absence.

“I call a lot of our sets…[Sparling] let’s me call a lot of our plays even when he is here,” Harris said.

Harris feels comfortable in the role as interim head coach, meanwhile, the players are equally as comfortable with having Harris taking control of the team.

“It’s a lot of the same, Coach Drew [does] all the same things as Coach Spar has done,” senior guard Joey Roppo said. “They’re different personalities, too. Drew is quieter than Spar is and Spar is more of an outspoken guy. It’s been an easy transition with all things said.”

Harris has learned a few new things in coaching since taking the reigns as head coach.

“One of the biggest things, is obviously getting on the refs a little more from a coaching standpoint,” Harris said. “And to just take command of the huddle.”

The players responded to Harris taking control of the team, as well as the good relationship he has with each one of his players. Even though this was Harris’s first time being a head coach, Sparling has prepared him throughout the years.

“Spar has given me a lot of responsibilities, and he puts me in positions where I can lead them in certain situations,” Harris said. “Since he has a lot of faith in me and confidence in me, he’s allowed me and prepared me for situations like this.”

Central plays its next game Thursday, Jan. 14, against Seattle Pacific University. The Falcons are one game behind Central in the GNAC standings at 3-3.

The Wildcats will look to keep their offense rolling into next week as they host Western Washington University in their annual ROOT Sports game on Jan. 23 in Nicholson Pavilion at 7 p.m.

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Teamwork keys win streak