April 9, 2009

Boys face more challenges next year

Turning boys into men can often be accomplished through a competitive sport. The boys diligently work to improve their skills … and also show off their pride.

Boys as young as seventh grade were honored Monday night at the yearly boys basketball potluck and award ceremony at Hazen High School. Head coach Randy Johnson proudly acknowledged his young men, some of which he might not see for awhile after graduation.

Five senior basketball players will leave HHS as letter winners after a tough 14-8 season. Their eligibility to become letter winners was through playing at every varsity game, showing up for all practices and acting as an upstanding student off the court. Seniors present at the award ceremony were Clay Brinkman, Jordan Cieslak, Chad Marshall and Tad Ploium. Joe Westman, also a senior letter winner, was not present.

"I’d like to personally thank them for their time; these individuals started basketball when they were very young, stayed with it, continued to work on their game," Johnson said. "Hopefully they’ve had a joyful time. I do wish them the best of luck in the future."

Johnson thanked not only the seniors for their dedication throughout the entire season, but many other young men and women. Johnson called off a number of names in the junior, sophomore and freshmen classes that received participation awards, or letters. The coach also recognized the statisticians that give him many reminders throughout the season and skillfully recorded each and every free throw, foul or field goal. Seniors Rebecca Chase and Brandy Neuberger will leave their duties to their younger counterparts for the next years as statisticians.

The Hazen boys basketball team will also need to find a new student manager as Craig Marshall will graduate with the 2009 class. Johnson reminded the audience that Marshall has given the boys four years of attendance as well as terrific spirit at all away and home games.

"He’s done an awesome job; he teaches all the young kids just what to do," Johnson said.

Not only did Johnson commend the players on an outstanding year, he reminded next year’s young men about the challenges they will be facing.

Practice can make a journey to the regional and state competitions smoother next year and Johnson mentioned the many opportunities the younger players will have to hone in on their weaknesses while strengthening their techniques.

"It (Practice) will need to be in the summer months as well," he said. "And that’s one of the reasons why we do provide opportunities for our young basketball players to come in to the gym and also to play in summer leagues."

A summer league will be available for boys and girls entering freshmen through senior grades. There will also be a summer league for students entering grades five through eight.

Students were not the only people recognized at the award ceremony. Parents also faced many challenges throughout the season, specifically the many schedule changes because of the weather. Next year’s team will have a challenging schedule as well, and possibly will be even more challenging, Johnson said.

Assistant coaches Joel Marshall and Darrell Berglund were thanked by Johnson abundantly for their dedication to the varsity, junior varsity, C squad and the junior high boys basketball teams.


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