by Marty Simpkins
WAKE FOREST — After football, high school boys basketball is my favorite sport to cover. So when Heritage played Rolesville High School at home in the season opener Nov. 17, 2015, I was pretty excited.
Heritage came into the season with a roster full of talented players who had been carried over from the previous year, even though they lost some starters to graduation.
Rolesville entered the 2015-16 season with their first senior class in school history, but it was their underclassmen who made the big plays.
Particularly, the sophomore duo of Heritage’s Jayden Gardner and Jarren McAllister played well in their first game of the season.
Gardner, who started at center as a freshman the season before, led the Huskies with 23 points. McAllister, a small forward, was third on the team with 12 points, but led the team with four steals.
Another player who stood out for Heritage in their home opener was Colton Reed, who made his first start on the varsity squad.
In his varsity debut, the junior guard tallied 15 points and knocked down three 3-pointers.
Reed stepping up was a good sign that Heritage had some depth at the guard position after losing perennial point guard Jared Joyner to graduation.
The scoring combo of Gardner, McAllister and Reed was too much for the Rams and the Huskies opened the season with a 67-49 win.
Heritage finished the 2015-16 campaign 21-8, their best record in school history. They also won their first playoff game in program history when they beat Southeast Raleigh at home, 71-52 Feb. 23.
Rolesville, on the other hand, finished the season 10-16. That their best record in school history, it still wasn’t enough to make the playoffs, so we’ll see how they do this upcoming winter.
Even though the Heritage and Rolesville game turned out to be one-sided, I still enjoyed watching it. I did all the preview articles for each high school boys and girls basketball team in the local area and it got me excited to see what the 2015-16 season had in store.
I love seeing the young athletes compete on the gym floor. Seeing so much talent and determination on the court makes the games much more fun to watch.
Many of the players in our local area plan on playing in college, so it’s nice to see how they develop in high school before they move on to the next level.
There’s also nothing like the atmosphere of a high school basketball game. At Heritage, the Husky Hooligans (the school’s student section nickname) pack the gym every game night, no matter who is the opponent.
The students really get into the game. They start chants, they yell at the referees when they made a bad call and they truly support their players and fellow classmates. It’s just fun and entertaining watching them make their presence known to the opposing team.
I’m really looking forward to next season already. If anything, the teams will get better and the games will be more hotly contested. Unfortunately, the 2016-17 schedule hasn’t been released yet, but you can assured that I will be waiting to see when the first game of the year is.