By: Cameron Imwalle

Boys varsity basketball finished their 2019-2020 season with a record of 10-16, just barely missing playoffs. This year the team consisted of 15 players with only 6 seniors. This made more than half the team their first year on varsity this year. Next year, however, is filled with spots, as 8 players from the team are returning as seniors.

The top players for each category this season consisted of the players junior Andrew Fitzgerald(12.6 ppg), senior Calvin Bickett (8.2 rpg), and junior Tyler Kolar (3.1 apg, 2.2 spg). The biggest games the team played this season were against Horizon, Desert Mountain, and Cactus Shadows. Desert Mountain featured one of the biggest home crowds for that game which went down to the last minute.

The games played this year consisted of many big wins and some very close losses. For example, Horizon only edged by NDP to beat them by 4 when playing them at home this year. Horizon was in the playoff series before losing to Millennium on February 19. Sophomore Brandon Nacario said the team’s “​strengths are how we never quit and weaknesses are us taking bad shots and not playing defense.”

Another huge game the varsity team played this year was the home opener against Rancho Solano. Sophomore Brandon Nacario was asked what his favorite game of the season and said, “​Playing against Rancho Solano because no one expected us to even be close to winning, but we lost in overtime.”

Rancho Solano had many big wins this year, including a 72-61 win against Pinnacle and a 75-20blowout against Phoenix Christian. The home opener was taken to overtime by a step-back three to tie the game from Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, the team lost by two after fighting to the last second.

Head coach Kyle Diemer said, “Our biggest challenge besides size which we have no control over is our inexperience. Since we graduated 12 seniors last year there is nobody on the team this year with varsity experience. We work a lot on late game situations because we struggle and panic late in games due to inexperience.”

Next year, however, there is more hope for the team as there are going to be many returning players from this year with the experience they have from this past season. When asked about the goals for the offseason, Diemer said, “We are looking to get better every single day, and I would say we have accomplished that. The difference between day 1 and now is night and day.”

Next year is building up to be a turning point for NDP basketball and a good season for the varsity team. Training and playing during the off-season will benefit the team and program immensely. They are full of returning players who know the team and the game plan well. Next season, if the team continues to grow and improve their game, then there is a very big possibility of a playoff appearance.