The Salt River Eagles basketball players tried their best to hold their ground during the home game against the Gilbert Christian Knights on January 6, although some of the team’s best shooters had to sit out the game due to illness or injury recovery.
“We started out doing what we’d been practicing, and you could see that in the first quarter,” said Coach Ernest Shand. But by the second quarter, the Eagles seemed to have lost focus on what was working for them. Gilbert Christian noticed and quickly took advantage of it.
The Eagles fell behind by 20 points in the second quarter, then in the third and fourth they were down by 30. But seniors Jordan Manuel and Leo Barker and junior Anthony Miles kept up a good fight against the Knights, scoring points throughout that time. The Eagles played with high spirits, hoping to make more shots, but ended up losing to Gilbert Christian 62-30.
Now at 16-0, Gilbert Christian is the No. 1-ranked 1A team in the state, for good reason. “We won’t be able to beat a team that good until we stop beating ourselves,” said Shand. “However, the players are finally starting to believe in their abilities.”
The Eagles coaching staff believes that the players are getting stronger and more comfortable with their game. They are learning step by step through trial and error. Throughout the game, the Eagles did their best to stay on Gilbert Christian’s tail.
“We are very close to being the team that we know we can be. We are officially 10 strong, and our dedication is finally at the level it needs to be. We are working each day to get better as a unit,” said Shand.