Resilient, undefeated Deer Valley Wolverines boys’ basketball team dominates BVAL, play final season game tonight

By Jamauri Bowles

Tonight, (Thurs., Feb. 13) the Deer Valley High boys’ basketball varsity team plays its final regular season game at Heritage High in Brentwood. The Wolverines enter with a 17-8 overall record, while going 9-0 in league play. With a win tonight against the Patriots, the Wolverines will finish with a perfect 10-0 record in the Bay Valley Athletic League.

The Wolverines won 11 of their last 12 games and hope to finish on a four-game winning streak. The previous three wins came against teams in their league; Deer Valley defeated Liberty 75-55 on Feb. 4, defeated Pittsburg 92-69 on Feb. 7, and defeated Freedom Monday night 72-54. The Wolverines also beat their crosstown rival, Antioch High Panthers 71-48 on Jan. 31 after barely beating them 49-47 on Jan. 14.

Both Rob McCune, the head coach of the Wolverines, and Quincy Smith, an assistant coach for the team, acknowledged the successful season, as the team has its best league record since the 2012-2013 season, when the team finished 9-1. By clinching the best record in their league, the Wolverines qualify for the playoffs.

“This was a goal we set in the beginning of the season and have been striving for all year,” Smith said. “Hopefully the community comes out and supports the boys. We play an exciting brand of basketball, and we are winning so it’s been really fun this year.”

Both coaches point to the juniors on the varsity team as being a huge part of next season’s team. Smith said they will provide the winning mentality that the team developed this year.

“This is a talented team. … They all know how to play (basketball),” McCune said. “I just hope this year that they’re learning the leadership qualities.”

The season has not come without adversities. The Wolverines have struggled with injuries throughout the year, so different players have been utilized under the “next man up” mentality. Also, Smith felt that at times early in the season, the team would play down to the level of their competition, against teams not as talented as the Wolverines. McCune said it was a tale of two seasons for the team, starting off with trying to set a standard that was not put in place before.

McCune also referred to the environment, as he feels there is a “negative stigma around our team because of where we’re from.” But, between the struggles off the court and the challenges on the court, he is proud that his team “found a way to persevere through it all.” He added that the team took its lumps, and now they all are seeing the results of their hard work. For him, it has been a season where “learning to love each other has determined our success.”

Smith said they have “set a standard for hard work, consistency and accountability” to move forward with. He added, “We are trying to build a foundation of winning here at Deer Valley High School and hopefully be able to get players scholarships to play on at the next level.”

From their collective success this season, McCune hopes his players “continue to take their greatness into the other area of their (lives)”.

Playoffs begin next week with the first game either next Tuesday or Wednesday according to Coach McCune.

Please check back here, Friday for photos, score and highlights from tonight’s game.

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