This season, Mountain Vista’s men’s varsity basketball team is comprised of mostly seniors and two sophomores, Jake Belknapp and Isaac Phillips.
“Because there’s only two sophomores on the team, it’s helpful that the seniors give us all the advice that they can,” Phillips said.
The seniors try to help their younger teammates all they can, on and off the court. “The seniors help us with shooting,” Belknapp said, “but they also help with school and things like that.”
Cory Smith, another senior on varsity, also tries to stress the importance of hard work to the rest of the team. “When I come off the bench, I like to bring everything I’ve got to the court,” Smith said. “I try to show everyone that talent isn’t the most important thing, working hard is.”
Many seniors, seeing that it is their last year playing at Vista, feel that stepping up to assume a leadership role isn’t optional for a winning team. “We have to lead by example during practice,” senior James Viergutz said. “We can’t be lazy or take time off, we always have to be going 100 [percent].”
The approach Viergutz and his teammates take to work towards success is what enables the team to be as great as it is.
“Viergutz has stepped up a lot this year,” senior captain Ray Beresford said. “Austin Benson has also been a huge role model to all of the younger kids on the team.”
Benson, like his teammates, leads by example. “I just contribute my part, making threes and helping my teammates in whatever way I can.”
The team captains, seniors Beresford and Brady Subart, are seen to do the most in respects to leading the entire team.
“Subart and Beresford are the strongest leaders because they know how to get the team under control,” Phillips said.
The experience the two have has allowed them to act as leaders naturally around their team. “I’ve played ever since I can remember,” Subart said. “Ever since I could walk I’ve had a ball in my hands.”
Most importantly, they always try to keep everyone’s heads up regardless of the situation.
“They lead by example, they never take time off, they always push the floor and they always make sure we do what we need to,” Viergutz said.
The captains, while maintaining the role of leaders, are above all a part of the team.
“I don’t wanna yell at my players,” Beresford said, “that’s what the coaches are for. I’m there to pick them up and make sure they do their best on and off the court.”
Beresford’s positive attitude rubs off on his teammates during practice and during games.
“One, he’s a good player,” senior Nick Pepper said, “but two, he’s a good teammate. If you make a bad play you know he’ll encourage you to play harder and keep your head up.”
Because all members of the varsity team step up and push each other to their furthest potential, Mountain Vista faces the remainder of a great, but far from easy, season.
Mountain Vista has yet to face some of their biggest rivals, such as ThunderRidge High School, and still has to play four of the state’s top seven teams.
“I’m excited to see how much we can progress throughout the season because our conference is tough and I want to see how we react together in certain situations,” Subart said.