Saying Goodbye to Someone You love

My Memories From My Years of Magnet Basketball

Saying+Goodbye+to+Someone+You+love

With the end of the 2021-22 varsity boys basketball season, my high school basketball career has finally come to an end. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a basketball in my hand. It was a way to socialize, stay fit, compete, and challenge myself through the years. It’s weird coming to the realization that you have just played your last high school game in whatever sport it is. Though not a 5-star recruit with college coaches breathing down my kneck, I took basketball more seriously than any other sport I have ever played. I wanted to win, I wanted to get recognized, I wanted to show off my skills and hard work to my friends and family. And while I am not being recruited by Coach K at Duke, in my last year of high school basketball, I felt more like a superstar than ever. For that, I know I will always be grateful. 

My relationship with Magnet athletics has always been a love-hate one. Coming in as a little freshman, I saw the older varsity guys as mentors, good players, and sometimes d***s. But of course, they were seniors and they had a right to act that way. They were much harder on themselves and the underclassman than I ever thought myself and my teammates were. That seems to come with its blessings and curses. Josh Cummins, Vinod Pandy, Will Jordan, Jacob Scharr, and Kasen Groves. All those guys could ball; if only they were seniors this year as well. Those upperclassmen led a deep Magnet varsity team that just lacked some more discipline, but they were a staple of my earlier years at Magnet. One of my favorite memories of Magnet basketball freshman year came from the bleachers as a large portion of the student body traveled to BE, wore all black, and watched a close game between the varsity boys teams of both schools. Of course, Magnet would fall short, but that memory replayed in my mind every year as I hoped to get a chance to be one of those 5 on the court to take down BE on a Friday night with the whole school in the bleachers. That dream would eventually come true this year, but I will get to that.

My sophomore year, William Hyatt and I made varsity after basketball tryouts, being the only two underclassmen on a senior-heavy team. The sophomore year proved to be one of the hardest basketball seasons of my life as playing time wasnt guaranteed and the seniors weren’t any nicer. Also, I think we won two games that year. Overall it was a struggle, as I went from working my way into the starting lineup to not playing at all. Later in the season, Cole Wilson, Jake Freudenheim, and McClain Stoklosa got pulled up from JV to varsity where our fellow sophomores got to share in the playing time too. And who am I to forget Walker Bauknight, only a freshman, who also got pulled up that year as well and instantly made an impact. In the last four seasons, the only underclassmen to make varsity came from us 5 sophomores and Walker that one season. I think that says something about the declining athletic ability and seriousness of the last few classes, but that might change in the coming years. I think sophomore year basketball was a testament to the toughness of the class of 2022 and showed they would have some potential in the next two years. 

Junior year was another struggle as we didn’t win many games and lacked leadership on the team. It was a year for us 5 juniors to experiment and prepare for our final season at Magnet. Junior year was also cut short due to a couple of games being canceled because of COVID. We also played each team in the region only once instead of the usual two games a season. I felt bad for the seniors like Owen Conley and Mark Maci who ended up playing their senior season in these conditions. Crowd numbers were limited at homes games and they never got the opportunity to play in front of a packed student section that year. To me, Junior year felt like my most forgotten basketball season out of the 4 I have had at Magnet, mainly due to COVID. However, the disappointing season excited us juniors for our next season. Senior season is what the guys in my grade had been dreaming about since freshman year. We knew we were a strong class and knew that come senior year, we would have a solid team that would be able to compete in the region. 

After what felt like the fastest 3 years of my life, I was a senior and it was time to play my last basketball season at Magnet. This year, we would win 4 times as many games as we had won the last year and make the playoffs in 3A. Our starting lineup for the final season would consist of the 5 guys who were initially pulled up during the sophomore year. Even though I felt like we underachieved as a team, what we were able to accomplish this year was great. Maybe except for the Oceanside game, we had a chance to beat every team in the region. We lost two close games to North Charleston, one going into overtime. We split the series with Hannahan winning one away and then losing at home. We also beat Battery Creek twice in two hard-fought games. And, even though we lost to BE twice, we had a chance to win both games, which wasn’t something that could have been said the last two seasons. Specifically the away BE game was what made my season. After the freshman year BE game, I wanted nothing more than to relive that moment and this time be a contributor to the game, and this year that game came true. The game would be played at BE, on a Friday night, and during BE’s senior night. This would attract not only all of BE but also Magnet who wanted to see us take on our rival on a Friday night. And take them on we did.

Never in my life had I been more passionate during a basketball game. Having all my friends and family from both schools in the bleachers and on the court was amazing. No team took more than a 7 point lead during the game as there were many lead changes throughout. Going into the 4th quarter, Magnet was down by 5 points and it wasn’t looking too good, but we were holding on. Within the last 3 minutes, we would tie the game keeping our hopes alive. With 40 seconds left, Magnet would hit a turnaround jump shot to go up by one with less than a minute to go. Unfortunately, BE would take the ball out immediately and capitalize on with a made three off a defensive miscommunication by Magnet on the fast break, and with that, BE secured a win at home on a senior night. Though a loss, a close game, with a packed gym was all I had ever dreamed about since freshman year. The BE game will always be a staple of my Magnet basketball career, as it was all I ever wanted the last couple of seasons. 

“We thought we were ready for Crestwood, I guess not.””

— William Hyatt

As the season was winding down, we made the playoffs and would have to play Crestwood, which was a number 1 seed in 3A. A little fun fact, NBA superstar, Ja Morant, actually went to Crestwood several years ago, which was cool to find out. We traveled all the way to Sumter, SC to play this powerhouse hoping to keep our season alive. But, they were a number 1 seed for a reason as they beat us by 30+ points. It was heartbreaking having to end not only your season but your last ever high school basketball game with a blowout, but at least we had made the playoffs. Through everything, these last four years of basketball at Magnet, the fun memories with my best friends and teammates, I will always be grateful for choosing Magnet as a place to attend and will always feel good knowing I gave my all to Magnet basketball. Saying goodbye to your sport is sad, but I know it won’t be gone forever. There are always intramurals in college and many other opportunities to play the game that I love. And with that, I say thank you Magnet basketball: you will be missed.