The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

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The journey to the Boys Basketball playoff triumphs

After a five-year playoff drought from the ultra-competitive Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA), the Masters boys varsity basketball team triumphed over the slump and clinched the playoffs as the third seed with a 5-3 record. 

Their first playoff game since 2018 happened in the den, their home court, as they squared up against the King School in the first round. Following a resounding 65-51 win, they fell short against Greenwich Country Day School Tigers in the FAA semifinals, with the final score of 68-55.

For the team of 12 players, playoffs were always the expectation. Starting center and co-captain Nathan Lothian ‘24 explained that from the very beginning of the season, the team set the goal; to win the championship.

“When we first got here we wrote down our goals and talked about what our goals are for the season. If we said that our goal was to make the playoffs, that’s what we’d be working for. But that’s kind of not what we set for ourselves. We said our goal was to win it all, and [Coach Joey Kuhl] kept coming back to that during practice.”

Last year the team was on the precipice of playoffs, even with a record that was under .500. Shockingly though, co-captain Adam Bello saw the defeat as a welcomed motivator.

“ I think it’s good that we didn’t; it was a learning experience for all of us. We got to feel that sense of defeat and kind of where we don’t want to be this year and use that to catapult us into where we are now.”

Just like Rome, this wasn’t built in a day. The team emphasized the impact of their coach, Joey Kuhl, and the rigorous schedule he has produced. Not only does the team engage in the traditional varsity schedule with practices from Monday to Friday, but the team practices in the morning, on weekends and even seven-hour practices over school breaks. To boost team culture, the team works out together in the gym and often goes bowling, watches movies or talks to guest speakers.

Kuhl describes his goal of immersing the team with these speakers and bridging between the players.

“One of the things we try to show in the program is the relationships you build here should be just the first step. And that skill of building relationships is what can take you places in life. And so being able to demonstrate that, like it’s something I’m really proud of.” 

The bond that this team created was a motivator for extending their playoff run and winning it all.  

“I think the message that resonated in the locker room that I think we all felt is like, we want to practice tomorrow. The practice and the time we spend together is really meaningful,” Kuhl said.

For the five seniors on the team, Bello, Lothian, Spencer Roberson, Shawn Pichardo and Jake Sinel, this playoff run is emotional but they are gracious for this experience.

Roberson was saddened about the disappointing loss against Greenwich Country Day but remained hopeful about the future of the programs.

“They see the future of the team right here. People are going to want to come here and play basketball because they see we have good coaching and we have good facilities and play in a league that’s competitive.”

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