BRIGHTON — It’s an annual rite of passage: middle school basketball teams say goodbye to their 8th-graders who move on to high school. The replenishing crop that returns the following year can contain plenty of unknowns, but for this year’s Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School boys and girls teams, two things are known. They are both fast and play tenacious defense.
“We’re faster than last year, but last year we had a lot of bigs; this year we have a lot of speed,” boys coach Preston Baker said after his team defeated West Glades on December 12.
Just how fast are the boys. Consider they were ahead by seven points at halftime before they accelerated into a higher gear in the second half. The result was a bevy of West Glades turnovers and a 30-point win, 56-26.
“I told them they took this team lightly and that you can’t do that,” Baker said.
Baker has a veteran squad with eight 8th-graders, but it was 7th-grade speedy guards Aundre Baker (16 points) and Bryce Baker (12 points) who led the team against West Glades. Eighth-grade guard Bryce Ward also contributed 12 points and Wyatt Hines had six points.
On the girls side, Jewel Buck is settling into her first year as head coach in fine fashion. The girls won two of their first three games, including a comfortable win against West Glades.
Buck was a standout player with the Tribe when she played in high school and college. She never thought she would be a head coach, but is glad to be at the helm after a couple years as an assistant on a team that went 25-3 and won two conference championships the past two years.
Her first team as head coach is a young bunch with just three 8th-graders (Javale Anderson, Giselle Micco and Shylynn Testerman).
“It’s a wonderful experience. I’m learning right along with them,” Buck said.
With six players from grade six, there’s bound to be some growing pains along the way, but Buck said she’s impressed by the squad’s enthusiasm.
“I love that they’re ready to go and jump in there. They want to play. I love that they’re learning together as well,” she said.
They are also learning to win together. PECS’ defense suffocated West Glades on the way to a 33-15 win. Micco led the team with 12 points followed by Jana Johnson with nine and Carlee Osceola and Preslynn Baker with six each.
2018-19 PECS Boys Basketball
Head coach: Preston Baker
2018-19 PECS Girls Basketball
Head coach: Jewel Buck