When I interviewed Coach West at the beginning of the basketball season I asked him to create a hashtag for his 8th grade team. Coach West came up with #hustle. In my opinion, and I am sure all of the AMS fans would agree, Coach West predicted the theme of the 8th grade team’s season with six letters. There is no doubt that hustle wins games and there was no shortage of it on the hardwood when this 8th grade team came to play. AMS 8th graders racked up win after win in the regular season. No team goes into a season expecting an un-defeated record to be handed to them. In all my years of playing youth sports I learned that hustle separates great teams from good teams. Coach West coined #hustle and his boys bought it hook, line, and sinker.
Unfortunately, I was not able to see the 8th grade team play every game. However, the games I did watch were impressive. A team with hustle has confidence and plays with a polished style. The key difference between the 8th grade AMS team and their competition was their hustle. The boys worked as a team and executed plays very well. The games I watched, the intensity of AMS’s defense and offense created turnovers and put points on the board, and their running game was always firing on all cylinders. The Saint’s passing game was sharp, they did well at driving the ball and hitting the open man, and they beat the opponents pressure every time by wasting little getting up and down the floor.
There were consistent scorers this season for the 8th grade team: Mitchell Carpenter led the scoring parade for the 8th grade team with 123 points on the board, Jayden Fischer lit up the board with 97 points, and last but certainly not least was Dylan Talley with 61. These top scorers had the confidence to drive, score points, and open up opportunities for their teammates. Will Shoemaker was also able to drive the lane. His defense was top-notch-a fun player to watch. Shoemaker was able to slash through traffic and his height allowed for an all- out attack on the rim.
Congratulations to Coach West and the 8th grade basketball team for an outstanding season! I am sure that we have not heard the last of this talented team. Next year they will be making their mark as freshmen basketball players. I wish them the best of luck in their high school careers.
Kid Sports Reporter