MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
The team moved closer. The target was identified and the shot was fired, at the rim that is, as members of the boys’ middle school basketball team ran drill after drill at the Quantico Middle/High School on Nov. 22, 2013.
Jesse Jones, Warrior’s head coach, stood to the side, pointing and barking orders to the 14 sweaty players as they ran, practiced rebounds and scrimmages.
“We are getting in shape for the year,” said Jones. “They are practicing well and are looking promising.”
The Warriors will start their 12-game regular season with only five veteran players, making their preparation important to their success.
Team preparation includes weekly drills and activities designed to help the team meet and maintain the physical standards needed to succeed this year, said Jones, who has been coaching off and on since 1967.
“We get in shape to play ball, we don’t play ball to get in shape,” said Jones.
Despite their red faces and winded appearance, the team showed a positive attitude concerning the upcoming season.
“I think we are going to have a pretty good season,” said Christian, 13. “We have a lot of good seventh graders.”
Another eighth grader agreed with Christian’s assessment.
“I think we have a better team than last year,” said Patrick. “We have a lot of players with talent.”
Jones, who is a project manager for the four Quantico schools, is a product of the Department of Defense school system himself. He empathizes with the lifestyle and challenges military children experience and ties constructive mentoring into his coaching.
“We are preparing the students for the future,” said Jones. “I deal with the positives, and the positives are [evident] because everyone’s giving 100 percent.”
Focusing on academics first and sportsmanship second, the Warriors are headed into a two-month season, starting with an away game against Fredericksburg Academy on Dec. 6 at 5:15 p.m.
“We make sure that we are representing this Marine base the way it should be represented,” said Jones. “We are going to their house on Dec. 6.”