Back in August, Research Triangle High School’s first-ever athletics competition ended in victory when our cross country team smoked the field at the East Wake Early Bird Invitational.  At the time, I joked that even though it may not last, we were undefeated for the moment.

A trend seems to be developing.

Our boys’ basketball team has had a bit of a rough existence since practices began in October.  Since we have no gym, we have to practice off campus (the team also gets in some time during lunch in our parking lot where we have two portable goals set up).  Since we only have about 145 students, the pool from which to draw players is pretty small and made smaller still by the fact that many people who wanted to play didn’t end up making the requisite grades.  Even still, the eight players on the team worked hard during the preseason and were looking forward to playing some real competition.

Since most athletics scheduling is done in January and February and we didn’t even exist until March, we took what we could get in terms of getting games.  Richard Jowers, our P.E. teacher and basketball coach, was incredibly aggressive and persistent in trying to get Triangle-area charter and private schools to play us, usually to no avail.  A lot of schools told us they didn’t have any space for us in the regular season but that we could play them in a scrimmage; as a result, we played in three scrimmages (teams typically play in one or two).  We were outmatched in all of them, but the team did appear to be improving as they encountered some game-like situations.

Today was Opening Day, the first day of the regular season.  We played Triangle Collaborative School, a school in Cary that’s just one year older than we are, at a gym in nearby Morrisville.  Since the game started at 4:00 and school isn’t out at Research Triangle until 3:55, I missed the first quarter, but when I arrived at the gym, we were tied 8-8 early in the second.  Both teams were clearly young, inexperienced, and not accustomed to playing together, and many of the possessions ended in turnovers.  At halftime we trailed 15-12, and the made baskets remained few and far between in the second half.  We couldn’t seem to use the backboard on wide-open layups; the Flyers seemingly had every other shot it took swatted by Raptor post player Josh Bynum, who sent a few shots back with Olajuwon-like authority.

The Raptors took the lead near the end of the 3rd quarter and held it throughout the 4th; a few defensive stops in the final minutes preserved a 28-24 victory.

And just like that, the Raptor basketball team is 1-0.  Once again, we’re undefeated.

Of course, the cross country’s team undefeated streak didn’t last as the level of competition picked up.  The basketball team will undoubtedly encounter similar luck.  Our next game is against a 4A school in Robeson County.  And remember how I said that most schools weren’t able to schedule us and we had to take what we could get?  Well, Mount Zion – yeah, that Mount Zion – had an opening on the schedule and we’re playing them in January.  Are we gonna be cannon fodder?  Probably.  But the team can use it as an opportunity to improve.

Right now, though, we’re 1-0 and the school is proud of the team and the win.  The next game is tomorrow, so there’s not much time to enjoy the win, but I hope that tonight the boys on the team are feeling pretty good about themselves.

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