It is never easy to repeat.
The Arizona Lutheran Academy boys basketball team know the challenge but are gaining more confidence as the season unfolds to make themselves back-to-back champions in division IV.
The Coyotes season got off to a rocky start as they began 2015-16 with a record of 4-8. Teams were gunning for them and they admittedly came out a little flat. But they have re-grouped over the second half of the season having won 10 of their last 12 contests.
“We started off kind of slow but we are catching on now,” said ALA senior guard Timmy LeStrange. “It’s good to finish out the season strong.”
“At the beginning of the season we were a little rusty,” added ALA senior forward Aaron Rosenbaum. “We had to figure out how to work together, gel together really well. The last month we have really worked on that it’s all coming together now.”
A core group of six seniors who returned to the roster this season have provided the leadership to turn their season around. The ball is shared and on a given night, any of the six could lead the team in scoring. It was very necessary for that to be the case after losing big man Brady Cook and his almost 20 points per game from last year’s run.
“From last year we lost our big man,” explained LeStrange. “But Aaron (Rosenbaum) really stepped up, Gabe Galvan and Nathan Henderson have really stepped up and we’ve kept all of our shooters from last year so everybody has stepped up.”
The key from here in an effort to repeat is to keep this momentum moving forward and to not look back.
“Just have to swing the ball and get it around on offense,” mentioned Rosenbaum. “Getting it inside and trying to swing it out for a three if we can. Just playing at an up-tempo pace and play the game right.”
“We’ve ended off the season good,” added LeStrange. “If we can just keep it going, we will be good.”
For Rosenbaum, the last couple weeks have not just seen excitement on the basketball court but also for his future on the football field. He solidified that he will be walking on to play offensive guard for Jerome Souers and the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Rosenbaum stated. “It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time now and I am very happy for the opportunity. I have to give God the glory for that. My teammates, my coaches, my family, my brother and everyone who has helped me on the journey so far. And I just look forward to making the most of the opportunity.”