Boys’ basketball open gym was intense, with few big guys participating. Senior Thomas Grant is currently the only player on the taller side on the varsity team. There were a few big freshmen who tried out, but the coaches are looking for a senior team.
Senior Will Likayi, who plays a post position, transferred last year from Benson Tech High School, but his season was cut short due to a major knee injury.
Point guard Isaac Bonton rejoins the team after recovering from last year’s shoulder injury. Shooting guard Na’shawn Penney joins Parkrose as a transfer from Jefferson. Juniors Justin Tran and Leyson Farmer are likely candidates to fill in the starting five players on the team.
Likayi played with Parkrose all the way through last season. Taking the lead last year brought pressure for Likayi. He felt he brought a tremendous amount of rebounds to the team and great sportsmanship.
During the off season, Likayi continued to play for a fall league. Sadly, it didn’t go as planned.
“Danté Daniels attempted to throw me an alley-oop, and I jumped and landed wrong,” Likayi said.
It wasn’t a worry at first, but the injury turned out to be worse than he originally believed.
“There’s no way to recover,” Likayi said, “it only gets worse when I play on it. I will need surgery.”
It was emotional and overwhelming to accept that ball wouldn’t be life this year, according to Likayi, but he said will keep a positive attitude.
Likayi will still cheer while on the bench and ride on the bus to every away game, showing his support. Although he is not playing, he is excited for the season. When the surgery is completed on the torn meniscus in his right knee, he will be up and running to his future college team.
Likayi jokingly said, “Me and Isaac switched positions this year,” referring to Bonton’s injury last year.
Bonton was team captain last year, and as likely team captain this year, he is planning to step up leadership-wise and with his scoring. In terms of last year, Bonton points out that although the team was very good last year, making it to state playoffs in Corvallis, there were still minor fixes to be made.
“Egos were big last year. We all knew our potential and it sometimes caused conflict,” Bonton said.
Likayi being excluded from the game this year has brought questions amongst the team, but that’s the least of Bonton’s worries.
“We will win more and score faster without the big guys.” Bonton said.
Of course, Bonton and other guys will have to guard bigger players on other teams, but it’s all part of the game.
Bonton is looking forward to what’s coming up.
“We’ve been playing with each other in fall league,” Bonton said. “We’ve taken the time to figure out each other’s’ tendencies,”
Penney, who left Jefferson High School to play for Parkrose, going to be the new face and flavor to the team. Penney is reserved and smooth, which is similar to the way he plays. He said he wants to contribute to the team by bringing speed and more points. He isn’t nervous about moving from a winning team because he’s maneuvering to another great team. Matter of fact, Parkrose and Jefferson have had a history of going back and forth.
Adjusting to the team is an ease for Penney. He’s been playing basketball for quite some time as well, so for him it’s more for the love of the game rather than the team he plays for.
Although there’s rumors going around that he might be captain this year, Penney said, “I’m just looking forward to having a great season.”
Bonton said something he’s looking for this season is for the coaches to demand more from the team.
“Demand more out of us,” Bonton said. “Don’t allow our skill to control nor call the shots.”
Tryouts were Nov. 14, and the first game is on Dec. 3.
Expectations for this year are high, because of last year’s success.
“Obviously, the goal is state, but I could promise to put on a show,” Bonton said.
“We taking ship baby,” Penney said.
In other words, we will see you Broncos in the stands.
Photo Courtesy of Daunte Gouge