Boys basketball pushes for districts


The Atoms huddle up during a timeout to talk about their gameplan in a December 58-48 win against Lewis.

As the team heads towards the back half of district play, the Atoms look to make a strong push for the district tournament.
The Atoms (8-5) take on Hayfield (11-0) on Monday (results not available at pub date).
Hayfield is the number one team in the district and they have not lost a game yet this year.
Despite the tough challenge facing the Atoms, they are not backing down.
“We can’t start slow against Hayfield. We need to start out strong and take care of the ball,” junior Davida Raharinaivo said.
After the Hayfield game on Monday, the Atoms play Falls Church on Jan. 26, Justice on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, and senior night against Thomas Jefferson on Feb. 4.
This is an important stretch of games for the team as the district tournament is around the corner, and seeding in the district tournament is very important.
“I think that for us to play well in these upcoming games we need to come out stronger to start our games. We have been starting slow and we end up falling behind early and that has cost us a couple of games,” senior Aris Hill said.
A strong start is important for the Atoms, as it can set the tone for how the rest of the game will go.
The Atoms have started slow in many games so far this season, which has led to a couple of comebacks.
The team has come back from down double digit points against Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Falls Church so far this season.
Despite these comebacks, playing from behind is not ideal.
“I think the biggest thing down the stretch to help us be successful is to not hurt ourselves. Valuing the ball and making good decisions with it. Making unselfish plays for our teammates,” boys varsity basketball coach Andrew Hypnar said.
The team’s last two games have not been the best.
The Atoms are coming off of a 57-61 loss against Lewis, and a 69-79 loss against Edison.
“We have to have a short memory and move on. Those games are in the past, all we can do now is prepare for the next one. We know what we’re capable of, we just have to execute,” senior Maxwell Lanham said.
Leaving these two recent losses in the past is important for the Atoms success. The team has a very important stretch of games coming up, so it is important that they come prepared to play for every game.
“To bounce back from this bad stretch of games I think we just need to start pushing each other harder in practice in order to prepare ourselves for these tough games,” Hill said.
Practice is important for the team as it allows them to work on what they need to do to come out strong and win their important upcoming games.
Taking care of the basketball was also a problem for the Atoms in their two recent losses. Turnovers by the Atoms led to points for the other team.
“I think in order to bounce back from our previous two losses we’ll need to just be better with the basketball. Like I said before, value each possession and not turn it over,” Hypnar said.
Despite the Atoms last two games, the team has had a good season overall so far, as they sit at an 8-5 record.
Before the team’s two game winning streak, they went on a 6 game win streak, and won the George Long holiday tournament.
The George Long holiday tournament is a tournament that takes place at Wakefield high school every year over winter break.
The Atoms were expected to lose in the first round of the tournament against South County, but the Atoms rallied together and won three straight games to win the championship.
The Atom’s great performance at the tournament got the team featured in the Washington Post.
“The tournament was a great experience for us,” Raharinaivo said. “It really helped us bond together and become a better team.”
After the tournament, the team went on to beat Falls Church, Thomas Jefferson, and Mt. Vernon.
“During our 6 game win streak one thing we were able to do well was share the ball on offense. Every game we would have 4 or so people scoring double digit points, and we would have good scoring contributions coming off the bench,” Hill said.
The team has been through many ups and downs this season, and they hope to make a strong push as they head towards the district tournament.
“I think our season has been pretty up and down up to this point. We’re a good team and we have our moments, but we have to be more consistent. We’ve shown what we’re capable of during the Holiday tournament, we just have to find our rhythm again; there’s no doubt we’ll end the season on a high note,” Lanham said.