The AHS Basketball Team: What It’s Like and What it Takes


Darin Buenaluz, Staff Writer

Basketball is not an easy sport to be highly competitive in. It requires constant full court awareness, good skills in shooting, passing, dribbling, and communication with your team, and being able to remain calm and collected under pressure. For sophomore Jimmy Dolan and his fellow teammates on the Arcadia High School (AHS) JV basketball team, they have shown that they are worthy of competing alongside some of the best high school basketball players in the area.

The tryout process for the AHS basketball team is nothing short of grueling, and is expertly designed by AHS’ basketball coaches to sift out those who have fully prepared themselves. Over 100 people tried out, and all were pushed to their limits right out of the gate. Running several miles would only be the beginning of the various physical examinations during tryouts, as this would be immediately followed by doing physical conditioning and constant drills and scrimmaging to test game sense and one’s ability to perform under stress.

As Dolan recalled, “We’d do the conditioning part of tryouts to see who’d quit first, and there’s not too much to say other than it was grueling. To end tryouts, we’d scrimmage at different skill levels, with nearly everyone on JV who made the team being on the first court.”

The entire tryout process took place over multiple days, with each individual doing what they could to try and secure one of 14 spots on the JV team. Needless to say, many didn’t make the cut. However, this highly competitive selection process would only be intensified by an interesting point that Dolan made about who truly makes the JV team.

“The irony of this was how JV already had players predetermined to be on the team. The returners from the season prior filled out most of those spots,” he said.

Going through the tryout process is a gauntlet and nothing less. Despite this, things can be just as challenging, if not even more so, as a team regularly competing against other teams of similar skill levels. Basketball, especially at this level of competition, is merciless towards even the slightest of faltering, but is also extremely rewarding for when individual and team play are in sync with each other and firing on all cylinders.

“The Thanksgiving tournament we had over the break managed to contain our greatest game and our worst loss. In the championship game of that tournament, everyone chipped in against a fast defense. Personally, I played probably my best quarter of the season in the third, making key defensive stops and generating points for the team as a whole. That run that we went on aided us greatly in our victory, with that push being able to distance ourselves from the other team,” stated Dolan.

By far, some of the most important skills of playing basketball are maintaining good team chemistry and a healthy individual mentality. Being physically talented at basketball means nothing if your mind isn’t trained and controlled to keep you motivated and confident in your ability to compete against others and intent to win. Team chemistry is also vital, as it defines the difference between a group of basketball players and a coordinated and tightly knit team.

A good basketball team is constantly improving itself, both at the individual and team level, and team chemistry is critical to putting efforts for improvement into motion. According to Dolan, the team has seen major developments since last season.

“Although we haven’t played too many games, the team’s performance has exceeded expectations. This year, we’ve managed to pick up many key pieces that will be crucial going forward. Every category that we lacked in some from the previous season has been erased,” he remarked.

Whether it be getting taller players, correcting flaws in the starters’ defense, or repeatedly running drills to improve decision making under pressure, the ceiling for improvement is endlessly high. However, this improvement is also only possible through having a good mindset, which Dolan always tries to maintain not only for his own sake, but for the sake of his teammates.

“I’m often one of the more vocal players in practice, incessantly pushing some of my less driven teammates to put more effort into what they’re doing. In the short term it makes me look like an annoying person, yet in the long run, that sort of mindset is something you need to be better in general,” he said.

The AHS JV basketball team hasn’t played in many games this season so far, but there is still plenty of time for players to display their skill and coaches to observe. Ultimately, mindset commands one’s physical talent and performance in basketball, and if you’re like Dolan and able to stay on top of your game and be able to push your teammates along with you, anything is possible.


Photo by Digital Communications Intern Hayden Wong