Seniors lead basketball program to recent success

Tate Fallon

The WHS boys basketball team has had a tremendous season so far, with a winning record of 8-2. The energy and effort of this year’s team is unlike any other due to a strong coaching staff, a bond among the players and most importantly, a senior class trailblazing the success that the program hasn’t seen in years.

“These seniors are incredible—they are a group that have played together since they were little. Their leadership is immeasurable,” said Head Coach and WHS Physical Education Teacher James McKeon.

Photo by Varsity Vantage
Senior basketball players from left to right: Jake Walsh, Hank Shapiro, Declan McCauley, Griffin Rooney, Colin Freer, Ray Hurtt, Andrew Eschausse

The seven seniors are key players in achieving the team’s goals. Having the large group of seniors comprising more than half of the team has had a positive impact, as they lead the underclassmen and help them grow into the best athletes and people they can be.

“Having this group of seniors and the way they know each other has allowed the younger guys to thrive,” said McKeon. “Many of our seniors have encouraged the underclassmen to step up and lead—that is a leadership quality a lot of people don’t have, which is being unselfish and happy for someone else’s success, because their success means we succeed.”

McKeon and the entire coaching staff have helped the team improve by crafting game plans and instilling a positive, collective mindset among the team for two seasons now, and the rest is all on the athletes. According to senior Declan McCauley, “The senior class is trying to prove that basketball is another sport that Westfield can compete in, and leadership is where it all starts.”

Photo by Varsity Vantage
Boys basketball lined up for national anthem

This program believes in fostering a strong team bond in order to not only make the season more memorable and enjoyable, but also help them on the court. While the team participates in bonding activities such as team meals, watching game film or just spending time together outside of the gym, they emphasize the importance of getting to know and understand each other. According to senior captain Jake Walsh, it is with this sense of trust that the team is able to play their best.

While the time on the court together for these seniors is limited, they will undoubtedly leave a mark on the program for years to come.

“Having seven seniors is great, but having these seven seniors is a once in a career,” said Mckeon. “I have been through a lot with these guys. Many of them were on the JV team with me and then they moved up to varsity when I got the head job. Their leadership has been tremendous for the younger guys to see. They have set the tone for this program. I will never forget these guys, and will be forever thankful for being able to coach them and watch them grow into the great men they will become.”