The middle school green basketball team’s formula for success: optimism


Two players on the middle school basketball green team high-five during a game. “I like the team very much,” seventh-grader Alice Rifenbark said. “I’m glad to be on the team with such great people.” (Photo Credit: Archer Athletics)

By Lola Thomas, Senior Reporter

Sneakers screeching on the hot pavement, group high-fives, dunks, hoops and positivity radiating across the court are all things the middle school green basketball team is used to, seventh-grader Alice Rifenbark said. The team is comprised of 12 players, all in sixth or seventh grade, and their current record is 1-5.

Sixth-grader Tyler Reif said missing a hoop, messing up a pass or losing a game does nothing to bring down the team spirit. The team’s first-ever game was against St. Matthews, which resulted in a loss of 11-22.

“We didn’t win, but we had a lot of good communication — everyone was cheering when we made the first point in the game,”  Rifenbark said. “We all like to participate and help everyone have the [chance] to get the ball.”

The team’s season began in December. However, some players have been playing for much longer. For sixth grader Nika Honarpour, basketball is her “lifelong sport.”

“My favorite part is [the] teamwork collaboration that we have to do,” Honarpour said. “I can’t think [of] a least favorite thing about basketball.”

Reif said that the team’s motivation and enthusiasm comes from the players but attributes the majority of it to coach Trevor Briggs.

“He once told us that if we won a game, we could put tinsel in his hair,” Reif said. “Coach Briggs motivates us by saying that we should always try our best and telling us how to improve. Coach Briggs also says that the point of this practice is so we can have fun in the game,” Honarpour said.

The team practices after school Monday through Thursday from 3:30-4:45 p.m. Honarpour said staying committed to the team’s practice and game schedule forces her to make certain sacrifices.

“I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of family time. I’m up late doing homework,” Honarpour said. “But I also feel like basketball is my free time. I can just take my mind off everything,”

Reif said that great communication is what keeps the team connected and what pushes everyone to reach their potential. Honarpour agrees with Reif.

“We support each other by giving suggestions and saying “good job” or “congratulations” if we get a basket,” Honarpour said. “We need to be very close together so we can give as much support as the person needs.”

Throughout trials and tribulations, nail-biter games and long after-school practices, the middle school green basketball team has built a connection with each other, Reif said.

“We just push people to go farther,” she said. “My favorite thing is the collaboration that we have to do together to build such a nice family.”