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the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Boys basketball team prepares for season with Fall League

Ellie Palaian
Junior Luke Finley during his sophmore year in a game against Mays on Feb. 4th. Finley was one of few underclassmen on the varsity roster, and is one of the returners who played in Fall League this year.

The boys basketball team has begun to prepare for their upcoming season by competing in the North Atlanta Fall League, facing off against other varsity and JV teams across Atlanta. It is a time of experimentation, growth and building connections, said Head Coach Issac Taylor.  

“Win, lose or draw,” Taylor said. “Everyone really gets to know each other, you know, your team, or the guys who are potentially gonna make the team, are just trying to figure each other out and bond.”

Junior Dhati Lewis said he is thankful he gets to compete in Fall League, primarily for the preparation it provides the team.

“Fall league showed me a lot I need to work on and how I can get better for the team,” Lewis said. “I have had ups and downs in the games with turnovers and a missed game winner, but those mistakes make me more prepared for the regular season. The experience helps build team chemistry and confidence and lets us know what we need to work on to beat the tough teams we will play in our region.”

Out of all the teams they faced, Taylor said his team has made the most off of previous experiences. 

“Some of these teams are where they are going to be in March, and it’s like for us, I haven’t put in any plays, done any practices, I have not had any illegal workouts with my guys,” Taylor said. “The players are just going off of their previous knowledge that they learned in years past.”

Senior Maxwell Serfozo said he has also felt the many benefits of Fall League.

“I think fall league has proven to me, and the team, that our team can excel,” Serfozo said. “I feel like one of the weak points during last season was the lack of chemistry. But what I have seen from Fall League, our team meshes together a lot better this year. We have won a lot of games throughout Fall League through sharing the ball and playing as a team.”

Throughout the league, one player who Taylor said has stood out is Dhati Lewis, who was on the JV team last year.

“Dhati Lewis has really had an incredible fall league, he has shown up in numerous ways, he does whatever I ask of him, he has really become a great player; he has just put in a lot of work,” Taylor said. 

Taylor said he has also been impressed with juniors Luke Finley, Zuri Mesquite and Haiden Evans. Taylor said Evans, who was new last year, has improved because of his commitment to the team.

“[Evans] is a kid from last year, where he was new to the school, from Clarksville, Tennessee, and he came into Fall League hungry to get better,” Taylor said. “He comes to conditioning, comes to weight training, and he shoots the heck out of the ball. Haiden’s impressive six threes in one game and five in the next were clear indications of his potential.”

Sophomore Cam Austin, who played for JV last season, sees Fall League as a way to correct mistakes before the regular season begins. 

“There is some of the best competition in Georgia which also allows us to build our chemistry as a team before the season comes around,” Austin said. “We need to improve on communicating as well as playing for each other and not being selfish. The more we can share and play as one, the better we can be in the regular season. Other than that I think we’re at a great place as far as skill.” 

With the regular season approaching, and tryouts next week, Taylor knows there is work to be done in order to get back to the playoffs. 

“I think the biggest thing going into the regular season that we need to work on is we have to understand, and more importantly, we have to learn as a group,” Taylor said. “It’s my job as a coach to teach them things they need to know and not just expect them to know every detail. I need to teach, develop, mold their thinking into the way I need them to play to win basketball games. I think that our young core, even though we lost a lot last year, will help our team to be even better this year.”

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About the Contributors
Owen Cummings
Owen Cummings, Sports Associate Managing Editor
Owen Cumming is a junior and sports writer on the Southerner. While not writing, he enjoys playing golf. He is beaming with glee to continue writing this year.
Ellie Palaian
Ellie Palaian, Sports Managing Editor
Ellie Palaian is a senior and this is her third year on staff for The Southerner. She plays varsity soccer for Midtown High and is excited to write for the paper this year.

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