Bobcats Look to Leave Mark on Senior Year
When all is said and done, the seniors on the Hallsville boys basketball team hope to look back fondly on their final year playing with the Bobcats.
“You don’t want to have any regrets later in life,” senior Ben Samples said. “You don’t want to think, ‘Maybe if I worked harder or if I had done this, it would have turned out this way.’”
“Don’t take anything for granted, especially now with COVID and stuff,” Trenton Smith offered. “You’ve got to make the best of every moment.”
“I want to be remembered as having left everything on the floor,” Samples added. “You could always count on me to give my best every night.”
“Never turn a blind eye to a curveball,” said Tanner Benson, who’s currently out with a knee injury but hopes to play in the playoffs – where the goal of the entire team, especially the seniors, is to pull out a victory.
The Bobcats are 4-3 in district play and are tied for third place in district as they have a chance to take one step closer toward the playoffs with a road win over the Marshall Mavericks tonight.
When asked what the keys to making that happen are, the seniors shouted out answers like, “Playing together, staying together, keeping composure and trusting each other.”
“We’ve got to be more aggressive, especially on the road,” Samples said. “Teams tend to play better on their home court. You’ve got to play with a higher intensity to beat teams on their court.”
Marshall and Hallsville opened up district play against each other in Hallsville where the Bobcats came out on top 43-38. The Hallsville seniors are more than aware that sweeping the Mavericks will be anything but easy.
“They don’t quit,” Jai Locario said of the Mavericks.
“They’re never counted out,” Smith added.
“We just need to go do our best and hopefully we’ll come out on top,” Hallsville Bobcats head basketball coach Rusty Walker said. “Our guys know what’s at stake and we need to keep getting wins. Just keep on keeping on. It’s always a hotly contested battle between us and Marshall. The Mavericks will be ready and hopefully we’ll be ready.”
The seniors say are confident in their team chemistry.
“We’ve played together since we were little kids,” Samples said. “Some of us played on the same team, some of us played against each other.”
“Yeah we’ve been in different leagues and played against each other in different competitions,” Smith added.
“I think it definitely helps when you play together for so long, you build this chemistry, this connection,” Samples said.
“It builds trust too on top of it,” Smith added again.
“You know where your teammates are and where they like to go,” Locario said.
Not long after last basketball season ended for the Bobcats, high schools across the country were shut down, leaving everyone to wonder if sports would return for the 2020-2021 school year.
“Last year when everything closed down after the season, they shut us down and we weren’t able to work out or anything so when they allowed us to come back, it was really nice to come back with our teammates, our brothers and play again,” Benson said.
Throughout the years of being around the game, the seniors say they have learned valuable life lessons, specifically from their head coach.
They’ve learned the importance of hard work, and “Enthusiasm makes a difference,” Adair said, quoting Walker.
“A lot of them have been with us for a long time,” Walker said when asked about his seniors. “Jai has been on varsity for four years. Ben has been on varsity for four years. Tanner Benson has been on varsity for two years. He’s of course hurt right now. Trenton Smith has been on varsity for two years. Austin Almond is a new addition to varsity this year. My manager is Colton Adair and this guy has been with us through thick and thin. This guy works, works and works. He can do everything from run the clock, to keep a book, to film, to help us with wash. This guy is a valuable asset and he does a great job for us. We’ll really miss him just like we’ll miss al the seniors. We’ve got a good group. We don’t ever have to worry about any of those kids being involved in something they shouldn’t be. They’re very high-character guys and they take care of their business.
“Those are our seniors and they’re all great kids,” Walker added. “We certainly want them to go out with a trip to the playoffs.”
In the meantime, the Bobcats are set to take on Marshall in a battle of Harrison County. The contest is slated to tip-off at 7:30 p.m. at Marshall’s Maverick Gymnasium.