WJ boys’ basketball looks to bounce back from recent losses


Senior captain William Koenick dribbles the ball and looks to get around Whitman’s defense. Boys’ basketball has a 3-7 record so far this season. Photo by Jack Linde

WJ boys’ basketball has had their ups and downs so far this season, but they look to capture another winning streak and draw from their earlier success in the beginning .

WJ defeated Damascus 62-44, Poolesville 49-42 and Watkins Mill 52-46, but then they fell to Seneca Valley 65-52, Albert Einstein 57-52, Whitman 60-40, Wheaton 54 – 42 and Albert Einstein again 60-48.

Coach Brian Fairall notes that the team was able to win three games in a row due to exceptional performances from many different players. Senior captain William Koenick and juniors Luke Kaleeba and Jonathon Newman have been consistent this season and helped lead the team to great victories.

However, Fairall believes that these wins were not only attributed to great individual performances.

“We were healthy. The first two wins were home so that gave us momentum to go on the road to Watkins Mill and get that third win,” Fairall said. “Overall focus and effort was solid during that time period.”

Fairall explains that WJ snapped their winning streak because they were not able to remain consistent throughout all four quarters and they lacked effort at times, which hurt the team when they played tough opponents. They also lost junior Hank Roll and senior Andre Roales to ankle injuries, which negatively impacted the team’s offense as well.

Senior captain William Koenick also believes that in certain games the team’s intensity and focus was not where it should be.

“We’ve had too many turnovers and missed rebounds which have given opposing teams too many easy baskets to win,” Koenick said. “If we can cut down on these mistakes I think we are in great shape for the rest of the season.”

Additionally, the team played in the Jefferson High School Holiday Classic in West Virginia over winter break. While they lost the first game 55-45, they went on to win the second game 58-47.

Newman was named the MVP for WJ because of his excellent performance in both games. He dominated in the first game with 19 points and he continued to play a high level, scoring 14 points and getting five assists in the second game.

Newman believes that he was awarded the MVP title due to his ability to effectively spark the team’s offense.

“I made plays for the team, [I had] the most points and limited turnovers,” Newman said.

Boys’ basketball has their next game on January 12 at home against Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School at 7:15 p.m.