By: Kirsten Thomas and Rachel Holbrook
The Bellbrook boys basketball team has had a strong season so far. Their current record is 12-7. Looking forward, their next match is Friday, February 4 against Oakwood at home. Come watch at 7:15pm.
Austin Webb is a freshman on the Bellbrook varsity basketball team. Webb has been playing basketball since the first grade and it has always been his favorite sport. Growing up, it had always been a goal for him to play basketball in high school. He has always looked up to the high school players and wanted to compete at this level. “I love the school spirit and am honored to play for Bellbrook,” says Webb.
Since this is Webb’s first year on the high school team, he explained his experience between middle school and high school basketball. Middle school basketball was great because he got to know the kids in his grade better. He had great coaches and teammates. He says high school is also great because there are different grades playing on the same team and it’s fun getting to know all of the guys. Webb says both schools are similar in the sense of support from teammates, intense practices, and school spirit. “I have great memories and friends from playing middle school basketball and now high school basketball that I know will last forever.”
Webb gives huge credit to the upperclassmen for making his freshman year of basketball so great. He says all of them have been so supportive and encouraging. He emphasizes that they have all “taken me under their wing.” Webb has learned so much from the upperclassmen and is honored to play on the court with them. As shown, Webb makes it clear, “They have made my freshman year one I will never forget!”
Webb’s favorite experience from this season was when Bellbrook beat Franklin and ended their opponent’s 14 game winning streak. He is grateful and says Bellbrook has the best student section ever. “I love being a part of Bellbrook and feel blessed playing for our coaches, and with the best group of guys that I could ever imagine!”
With 4 games left of his senior year, Gabe Pavlak reflects on his experiences playing basketball. He has been a member of the high school team since his freshman year, and first started playing in grade one. He credits his parents for initially getting him involved in the sport. Joining the Bellbrook High School basketball team was the next step in his journey, and he has been a member of the team since freshman year.
Some of his best memories are from the weight room and hanging out outside of basketball. Pavlak says, “We all joke and stuff 24/7 and it’s a really fun environment to be around.” His pregame superstitions include showering before the game, making one final layup before the game, and saying a prayer during the national anthem. Pavlak thinks this year’s team is the “closest group of guys I’ve played with in all 4 years that I have been here and I think we have all grown into ourselves and as teammates!”
Pavlak credits Coach Tate for making him a better person by pushing him to be the best version of himself for the past four years. He advises younger players to really buy into each other and says, “The most important thing is having strong bonds with your teammates and coaches. Once everyone has those bonds, playing together and practicing together becomes a gift rather than a task.”
His favorite memory from this season was the rivalry Franklin game. On January 25, Varsity Boys beat Franklin at home. The score of the conference game was 64-52. Pavlak remarked that, “It was good to have the last laugh in that rivalry,” and the team played very well during the game and worked together to pull out the victory.
Pavlak hopes to continue playing basketball next year at John Carroll University.