It may have been a loss in the scorebook, but the Nov. 26 boys varsity basketball game between the Keene Beavers and Westport Eagles was a win for Keene athletics.
For the first time in three years, the Beavers sent a varsity boys basketball team onto the court, something players and coaches alike have been looking forward to.
“We have not had a varsity in three years so it is nice to actually have a team,” said sophomore Colton Venner, who scored 16 in the Beavers’ 36-21 loss to the Eagles. “I like the better competition. It’s been more intense. We are shooting a lot more in practice.”
“It was frustrating because I wanted to be pushed more than we were,” said junior Gabe Warner, who scored two points. “We were looking forward to having a varsity tem this year. We have a lot of new guys so we have been teaching a lot of the basics and learning how to play going forward.”
“It was exciting for myself and for them,” coach Chad Lopez said. “There was a lot of anticipation and excitement. They stumbled a little bit out of the gates, but I knew our inexperience was going to hurt us early, but we will look to work hard and get past it.”
Lopez coached the junior varsity team last season and said that he focused on preparing his team mentally for their advancement to varsity.
“We worked on understanding that the varsity level was going to be more physical,” Lopez said. “The goal was to prepare everyone mentally to step up and play at the varsity level. It’s different coming in and not knowing what other teams are ready to do. We wanted to cover all of the bases and be prepared for anything.”
While the players were happy to get their first varsity game under their belts, they knew they had work to do.
“There is a lot of room for improvement,” Venner said. “There were a lot of mistakes and things we need to correct in practice.”
“I’m very excited for the season,” Lopez said. “We are looking to gain some experience and hopefully a little bit of respect along the way.”
For the Beavers, Brandon Dumas added two points and Maxx Sturges one, all scoring their first points as varsity players. The team also includes Austin Brown, Justin Haverlick, Warren Ashe, Tim Montez, Mathew Holmes and Seok Jae Hong