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Spartans Strive for Success on Basketball Court

Jan 28, 2016 10:52AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Sarah Almond | sarah@mycityjournals.com

Murray - The Murray High School boys basketball team is off to a stellar start in the 2015-2016 season. With a current eight-and-five overall record, the varsity team of 17 players is feeling confident that the remainder of their season will hold great success. 

“We are getting better every single game we play,” Zach Dickerson, a 6’2” senior guard, said. 

With the official season beginning Nov. 12, the Spartans have already put in well over 100 hours of court time. They practice more than two hours a day, Monday through Saturday, and compete in two or three games a week. As a group, the Spartans understand that they must fine-tune every aspect of their game in order to win at the championship tournament Feb. 24-28. 

“Public schools are a different beast. They change drastically every year; you don’t have recruited kids, you have to change what you do constantly because you have a different talent set every year,” Jason Workman, head coach for the Murray Spartans, said. “Fortunately this year we have a group that’s been playing together for a long time.” 

Of the eight seniors on the varsity roster, six were starters in the 2014-2015 season. Not only does this establish solid leadership, but it also benefits the group’s ability to communicate and hold each other accountable on the court.  

“We have a lot of good chemistry as a group, and that definitely plays out well on the court,” Peyton Christman, a senior guard and one of the Spartans’ top scorers, said. “I think this gives us really good energy that everyone feeds off of and we’re able to get really good runs.” 

Though Murray won eight of their 13 preseason games, they’re not letting off the gas until they make it to the state championships. This drive for success is powered greatly by the team’s disappointing loss to Bountiful in the first round of the championships last season. 

“Last year we went to the playoffs and played Bountiful, the number one team, and lost in a game winner,” Christman said. “So that’s been giving us all the motivation.” 

Murray and Bountiful were neck and neck throughout the entire game. The Spartans had a one-point lead with 2.5 seconds left on the clock, when Bountiful player Zac Seljaas sunk a three-pointer, ending the game with a final score of 58-56 and moving Bountiful on to the quarterfinals. 

“At this point, the guys need to forget about that game,” Workman said. “They’ve put all the work in, and that’s driven them to get to this point, but now they need to focus on the task at hand. The job is done.”

With determination and drive backing the group’s years of experience on the court, Workman knows the potential of his team and holds to expectations he’s confident they can reach.

“Their dedication to the game – I’ve never had that before. I’ve never had that many kids willing to work so hard, even on their own during the off season,” Workman said. “And that’s why we’ve been expecting so much out of them, because they’ve been putting everything into it for years.”

Making it past the playoffs to the state championship is Murray’s ultimate goal. In order to meet this goal, the team needs to keep practicing their hardest and playing their best. 

“Now we need to take every night and put in our best effort, because if we play our best and our smartest every night, I think we have a good chance of winning every game we play,” Workman said. 

The Spartans play their last home game against Cyprus High School on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Murray High School gymnasium.

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