Unified Basketball hosts Spotswood, falls in fourth quarter


Sam Heie

Harrisonburg puts up a shot against Spotswood. To see more photos from the game, check back in a few days.

Crowds hundreds strong from four different schools flocked into the gym for the first and only Unified Basketball home game on Sept. 26. It was a double header with Turner Ashby playing East Rockingham first, and Harrisonburg taking on Spotswood as the finale. The streaks came up short of Spotswood, losing 37-34.

Coach Susie Bocock has led the team for two years now as the head coach. To her, this game showed how the team has grown.

“I think we did well. We’re learning now that the other team can only take one shot and we have to learn to rebound. We’ve been really practicing going after the ball, and you can see that because some of them are starting to get pretty physical, but that’s okay because this is their game,” Bocock said.

The team had some high scorers like senior Brandon Stees, but Bocock doesn’t attribute their success to any one individual more than another.

“Some of our kids scored more than the others but at the end of the day, my whole team is All-Star. They’re all MVP’s,” Bocock said.

Just like any other varsity sports coach, Bocock analyzed the team’s weaknesses and has strategized practices for next week’s game.

“We play Broadway next week and Broadway has some good shooters. We have to work on posting up on defense to block some shots. We also have to teach the guys that are more physical to be easier with the smaller players,” Bocock said.

Even though the team walked away with a loss, Bocock believes that their goal of including everyone on the team was met.

“Everybody got to take a shot and that’s our goal; we want everyone to make a basket,” Bocock said. “Of course everybody in this game was missing, but they all got to take a shot and that’s what matters.”

To help the flow of the game and attain Bocock’s goals of inclusion, senior Kobe Johnson assists the team on and off the court.

“I just make sure that everyone is where they’re supposed to be on defense and offense and nobody gets left behind. I make sure that everyone can get the ball and that everyone can get a shot at some point in the game,” Johnson said.

Similar to Bocock, Johnson believes that the game was a success despite the loss.

“The game was really good. The players put their heart out on the court and even though we came back with a loss, they all loved it and had a great time,” Johnson said.

The team practices during fourth block in the gym. Johnson has a class fourth block that restricts him from attending the practices, so when he’s on the court for a game, it’s an entirely unique experience.

“My favorite part is getting them open to take a shot and getting them the ball,” Johnson said. “When they make a shot, their faces just light up and it’s incredible to watch.”