Ames High boys’ basketball15 strong

Adidas’ newest ad campaign features NBA stars like Gilbert Arenas and Tracy McGrady proclaiming, “You were fooled. Every time I dunk, drop thirty or forty, it fooled you because you believed that was about me. While I believe it takes five. But you aren’t a fool, are you?” Perhaps I was fooled, and perhaps I still am a fool. It’s tough to believe that it takes five (referring to the fact that a basketball team is five players), especially considering that the fact that Gilbert Arenas and Tracy McGrady, both of whom are largely one-on-one players, are telling me this. While most NBA teams usually revolve around one player, for the Ames High Basketball team, it truly takes five, or in their words “15 strong”. “15 strong” was a motivational technique used by coach Pat Riley during Miami Heat’s championship run last year. Riley had a mystery bowl that sat covered up on the floor of the Heat locker room throughout the playoffs adorned with a “do no touch” sign. When they finally won the championship, the bowl was revealed to have thousands of cards bearing the words “15 strong,” referring to a team of 15 players working together in harmony. With three players averaging over 10 points per game and a rotation of 10 players, the balance and depth of the Ames High Basketball team can easily be seen. “I think we have a very balanced scoring attack,” senior Danny Haugo said. “Our bench adds a huge spark to the team. Basically anyone on our team can score if we need them to.” This balance truly extends to every member of the team. “On any given night someone is on. It doesn’t matter who,” sophomore Jesse Prichard said. “Even [senior] Tyler Hansen had his night.” Unfortunately this incredible depth sometimes leaves great players on the bench. “Even though I haven’t missed a shot all year and am perfect from the field, I don’t get to play very much,” senior Jay Jensen said. “The reason I don’t play is because our team is so deep and stacked with talent. But when I do play it’s great to hear the best student section in Iowa chanting my name.” The unity the players share on the court is catalyzed by their unity off the court through visits to the Grove Cafe on Saturdays. “After every morning practice we go eat at the Grove,” Haugo said. “We can honestly fit 11 people in one booth. It’s a tight fit and a good bonding experience.” Some players would even say their visits to the Grove are more than just bonding experiences. “Our trips to the Grove are the reason we’re winning. I think that the pancakes and cinnamon french toast probably have a little something extra in it,” Pritchard said. Currently, the Ames High Basketball team is 11-2 and could possibly clinch the conference long before the season is over thanks to their 6-0 record in the conference. Additionally, their record will translate to a good seeding in the sub-state tournament, in which seeding is based off of the team’s record in games five through fifteen. Even though everyone makes sub-state, only one team advances out of the group of 6 to make the storied State tournament, which is something Ames has not done since 1991 with Fred Hoiberg leading the way. Most notably, the sub-state grouping for Ames includes Johnston, who Ames lost to earlier this season by 15. Staying faithful to sports clichés, it is clear that Ames is still taking it one game at a time. “Johnston? You talking about Johnston? You kidding me?” senior Bret Ballantine said. “Don’t talk about sub-state, talk about the regular season.” Regardless of regular season or postseason, it is clear that this basketball team is not five individual players who happen to be playing on the same team, but actually 15 irreplaceable cogs, who get together to make a well-oiled machine. For the Ames High Basketball team, it truly is 15 strong. But you already knew that because you aren’t a fool, are you?