There’s nothing like the Super Bowl to remind sports fans and players all over the world that anything is possible. As he was handed the MVP trophy, Eagles Quaterback Nick Foles prompted spectators to remember that the professional athletes of the future are just kids today; kids with big dreams that will one day come true. I’ve always been a dreamer, but I’ve never been fortunate enough to be on a winning sports team. I think that’s why I feel so compelled to make sure the 7th grade Warren County and Skyline Middle School boy’s basketball athletes are recognized for their amazing seasons which ended in a heated battle for the NVJL District Championship.
The new middle school gym on Heritage Drive had some excitement this season and the WCMS 7th grade boy’s team didn’t let a broken finger nor a knee injury of two key players thwart their winning spirit. Head coach Bobby Binnex wasn’t surprised that WCMS ended the season as champs despite the setbacks, “Since the first two tryout days I knew this team would be special and would be able to compete with the rest of the teams in the district. I have been coaching basketball at the youth level for 20 years but never had the opportunity to coach at the school level until this year and could see the team chemistry come together in just a few practices. We began the season all sharing the same goal; learn, develop, work hard and that would lead us to a championship.”
The Warren County team (13 players, 4 managers and three coaches) ended the season undefeated in district play, which included three games against Skyline Middle School. With the county divided into two middle schools this year, those games were friends vs friends and were each filled with emotion and true sportsmanship. The District Championship game, held on 1/17 at Skyline Middle School, brought the two teams together for a third showdown that was a nail-biter from start to finish. With 29 seconds on the clock, the score hovered at 39-35, a four point spread. Swished foul shots by # 15, Elias Carter, garnered the Wildcats an extra two points. Next on the foul line was Tobias Caison, #35, who secured another point for the ‘Cats. A two-pointer by Skyline’s Zadin Jenkins, #24, got his team within reach, but the clock buzzed at 42-37, and an ecstatic WCMS team was surrounded by family and friends cheering with excitement.
WCMS Coach Binnex shared immediately following the game, “They battled all year long and they wanted this championship more than I did and that’s why they did it, I’m so proud of them.” He later added, “They were told in the beginning that it was the coaches job to get these kids ready for the next level (high school) and their grades and conduct on and off the court would be monitored and there would be consequences. If players had a test, homework or project due then they had to complete that first before they could practice, we even had players on the team that would stop practicing and would help some of their teammates. That is the atmosphere we created this year and hope we can build on in the next coming years. It has been a great experience for me and these players and hope the community will take some time to watch not only these boys but go support all the schools as they all have some really good athletes and I can see a few more championships coming to this town.”
As a former Warren County athlete and parent of sports players I’d like to thank the dedicated people who devote their time and talents to sports programs in the area. The lessons learned on the courts from coaches and teammates, the skills developed from balancing schoolwork and activities and the lifetime friendships forged throughout the seasons wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of the many faithful adults who lead the teams. May we all remember that anything is possible and that years ago, all the athletes we admire on TV were once kids in school who decided to follow their heart As I always like to say, “What Matters is your heart….Let it!”
The Warren County Middle School 7th Grade Boys Basketball Team:
Elias Carter 15 – Tobias Caison 35 – DJ Rizzo 50 – Matthew Lynch 11 – Nick Foltz 10 – Landon Pond 4 – Mason Lewis 14 – Ty Carter 12 – Tucker Martin 44 – Dagan Kitner 42 – Malachi Proctor 43 – Blaine Whited 13 – Jadon Roy 41
Managers: Ryan Curl – Xander Ring – Christopher Moreno – Raymond Dingess
Coaches: Head Coach Bobby Binnix – Assistant Coach Himmy Carter – Assistant Coach Austin Binnix
The Skyline Middle School team, though they lost to WCMS in the District Championship game, had a stellar season that earned them district runner-up ribbons. Coach Devin Smith has so much respect for his players, This group of guys not only grew as a team, what I was most proud of them as they grew as young men in school and tried to better themselves as students. At the end of the day this team has formed a new brotherhood and created a family for life.”
Skyline team members are:
10 Zack Diggs – 4 Reese Sperry – 1 Nathan Jenkins – 11 Elijah Canness – 13 Marcus Lambert – 3 Tyson Funk – 24 Zadin Jenkins – 25 Jack Clingerman – 2 Josh Evetts – 21 Nick Hugo – 43 Gage Mandiak – 42 Audi Cameron – 32 Shawn Fletcher – 12 Noah Garland
Managers: Tori Novak, Manager – Tyler Lee, Manager – Kaleb Smith, Manager – Devin Smith, Head Coach – Marcus Turner Assistant Coach