The Higley Knights had a total of five wins last season. A number in the win column that in 2015-16, they surpassed after just six games and have not looked back.
A big reason of their success this season has been the stellar play and leadership of senior transfer Bryan Battle who is averaging 17.7 points and 7.3 rebounds through 16 games and a 12-4 record. He moved to Higley from Marcos de Niza this season and his presence on and off the floor has been huge in Higley”s much improved success.
“Everyone on our team works hard,” Battle told Sports360AZ. “They push me to work harder myself and the coaches all the way down through the last person on the bench to the last person down though freshman, if you’re at practice, we are engaged and we are focused. That is what I think gets us ready to play.”
“He’s a strong leader,” mentioned Higley head basketball coach Jerome Joseph. “Hats off to him. It doesn’t really matter where he is at, a leader is a leader no matter what. Guys will follow if you truly are a leader and lead by example.”
The Knights have been on a great run and were riding a six game winning streak since the new year before being knocked off by Saguaro on the road last week. Those six straight wins included a win over defending champion Gilbert Christian. Belief in one-another is what Battle calls the biggest reason behind their success to this point.
“We don’t give up,” he stated. “Down 15, down 17, down 20, it doesn’t really matter. We think we can comeback. We shouldn’t be in a position to where we have to come back, we should come out ready to play and we’ve got to learn to get teams from the jump.”
From a personal stand point, Battle has taken his game to another level for his senior year. His stats are up from a year ago where he averaged 8.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 26 games with Marcos. He is now who the Knights look to when they need a bucket or a boost of energy. This play is getting him plenty of interest from schools at the next level.
“My game has definitely gotten a lot better,” Battle explained. “Not just scoring the ball but a defensive mindset. Coaches are always on me and they push me to better on both sides of the ball.”
“He’s our vocal point, he’s our offensive guy, he’s our leader, he’s our captain and then all of the guys follow behind him” added Coach Joseph. “We are changing the culture with our coaching staff and the kids buying into what we want to do to where we can put Higley on the map in the East Valley and that’s our plan.”
Behind Battle, fellow senior Jack Girardin and junior Chris Wright, Higley is poised to turn some heads once the post season tournament rolls around.