Basketball interest grows, laying foundations for future success

Image+from+PHS+Falcon+Boosters

Image from PHS Falcon Boosters

Ian Rodriguez, Staff Writer

The junior varsity basketball team saw increased interest this year with 40 new players trying out — a positive sign for the potential future growth of the program. 

While basketball has consistently been a popular sport for spectators at Poolesville, participation levels are consistently lower than other programs throughout the county.  

“There were only 14 people that tried out [for varsity],” said point guard Van Rosenbaum. “I think that we struggle to pull athletes from other magnets that aren’t [the Independent Studies Program].”

Although there were so few tryouts for the varsity team this year, with most players returning from last season, that couldn’t be further from the truth for the JV squad. With such a populated tryout, coach Rob Smith, who is entering his 12th year of coaching high school basketball in Montgomery County, had a challenge in front of him while evaluating his players.

Having players going as hard as they can to earn a spot is very difficult for coaches and players,” he said. “These are not easy decisions and probably one of the hardest aspects of coaching.”

Although this level of interest forces coaches to make hard decisions, it also fosters a heightened level of competition. With more talent competing against one another, it is bound to bring the best out of all players. This allows coaches to obtain a well-rounded look at everyone’s abilities, making sure they put together the best team. Both Smith and Rosenbaum agreed that increased competition in JV will lead to a stronger program at the varsity level.

“Having a great youth program in town and having players play can help the numbers come to high school,” said Smith. “Also having successful seasons in the past can help gain interest as well.”

Building interest even before high school is very important and one vital way to do that is to build success during the season to increase the recognition and promotion that the team may receive in the community. This can in turn build excitement around the program and attract more players. Additionally, success allows students at school who may not have wanted to play earlier on to see what they could be a part of.

“Absolutely, more interest in the program gives the entire team more motivation to work towards the cumulative goal of a state championship,” said Rosenbaum. “We also always want more people to come to the game.”

That level of community-based motivation is especially evident in Poolesville because the town is ingrained in high school athletics, which creates a unique sports atmosphere. Last season, the team finished 11-11 — a marked improvement over recent years. This relative success has increased interest and the 15 players on this year’s JV roster will hopefully lay the groundwork for the continuing growth of the program.