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Recreational basketball rises in popularity with upperclassmen

Alison Aiken, Staff Reporter
Originally published February 10, 2016

Sam HeikellJunior Sam Blank reaches to block the opposing player's shot. Blank helped lead his team to a 15 point victory against West Seattle.

Sam Heikell

Junior Sam Blank reaches to block the opposing player’s shot. Blank helped lead his team to a 15 point victory against West Seattle.

Usually all the basketball hype revolves around the school teams, however this year it has gone in a different direction. There is still plenty of excitement about school games, yet this winter more high school juniors and seniors are becoming involved in recreational basketball.

Kids can create teams through their local community centers, and they play eight season games throughout January and February. At the end of the season, these community center teams will go into playoffs, and have a final championship.

There are currently four different teams consisting primarily of BHS students, three boys teams and one girls team, located at the Queen Anne and Loyal Heights Community Centers. Teams practice twice a week, and games occur once a week every Sunday. The teams have all played three of their regular season games so far, except for one of the boys Loyal Heights teams which has only played two.

The Loyal Heights girls team is made up of juniors Julia Jackson, Iszy Kleven and Kelsey Austin, along with other Holy Names Academy students. So far, they are undefeated in their league. “We are playing rec due to the fact that we are all just goofballs who just want to have a good time,” Jackson said. “If someone shoots an airball in a game, instead of feeling badly we all just joke about it.”

Seniors Paul Vanzandt and Eddie Bjarko are captains of the boys Queen Anne team, which is also undefeated in their league. Seniors Anjay Chedalawada, Sean Vanzandt, Myles Attkinson, Henry Romano Weller, Trey Trent and Carl Loacker are also on the team. Junior Corbin Gabrel recently transferred from one of the boys Loyal Heights teams to the Queen Anne team. “The core has been playing rec together for years so it’s kind of routine for us and we all have stress-free practices and don’t feel much pressure,” Bjarko said.

“Most of us don’t play Ballard basketball because we don’t like how super intense it is,” junior Derek Kirchmeier said. Kirchmeier is captain of one of the boys Loyal Heights teams, along with junior Jack Bland. Their record is currently 1-2, however all of them were close games. Juniors Liam Moore-Tobiason, Henno Kublin, Jake Arugula, Aiden Welch, Ezra Beimborn, Sam Coburn and Tlaloc Orzen Corzen make up the rest of the team, along with junior Simmon Nega.

The second boys Loyal Heights team is captained by juniors Luis Winters and Sam Blank, which has an undefeated record of 2-0. Juniors Hunter Thomsen, Eric Henderson, Simon Czyzewski and Sebastian Schoenleber also play for the team. This team originally wanted to play for the Magnolia Community Center, but they weren’t able to find gym space.

This is the first year that Winters hasn’t played basketball for the school team. “I did not play Ballard because I lost my passion for truly competitive play,” Winters said. “Loss of interest in the game and my goal to focus on grades for my junior year impacted my decision.”

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Recreational basketball rises in popularity with upperclassmen