The Berkeley High School (BHS) Yellow Jackets varsity boys’ basketball team is currently standing in second to last place. They have had only two wins in league play throughout the past season. However, what they lack in athletic triumph, they make up for in spirit. And, hopefully, their ever present positive attitude will birth many more victories in the coming weeks of the winter season.
“This season has had its ups and downs because we’ve been learning to play with each other and know each other’s tendencies so we can have the best on court chemistry possible,” said senior Anthony Rio.
Nothing makes this more apparent than a non-conference game that they played at the start of the season. It was their match against McClymonds High School, where they had a “white-out” or a game in which every fan wore white. This was most likely done to boost team morale and spirit before the first league game of the 2019-20 season. The strategy, one could argue, worked well. The game was tied at the start of the fourth quarter, and the McClymonds Warriors had just come off an explosive third quarter in which they outscored BHS by 13 points. This normally leaves one team demoralized and secures the other a win. However, the Jackets had a secret weapon, their team spirit. They beat their opponents, the Warriors, by a whopping score of 37-14, putting up 20 more points in that quarter than either team in a single quarter that game. They won a decisive victory, with a final score of 78-55.
“Our goal is still to make playoffs and we have to win three out of our last [three] games to do that,” said Rio.
Those three games are against San Leandro, Piedmont, and finally Bishop O’Dowd, an undefeated BHS rival team. The game against O’Dowd is a “senior night” game, in which only seniors will play. Last time BHS played O’Dowd, they blew the Jackets out of the water by a whopping score of 75-34. The seniors, with much pressure during this last game of their season, may be able to reverse the outcome this year and win against the formidable O’Dowd Dragons. In order to secure a better finishing place, they would also have to beat Piedmont, whom they have lost to in games so far this season.
Overall, increased spirit and level of play seems to be the way forward for the BHS boys’ basketball program in general. The path to success, which they were unable to find last year, still remains open, though possibly hard to find.