Slam dunk success

Middle school basketball coaches have lofty goals for the season


Nathan Baszuro

Middle school girls practicing for upcoming games

This year, the middle school boys basketball coaches are Steven Strauss who teaches 7th grade, and Anthony Flemmons, who teaches 8th grade. This year is Straus’ 8th year of teaching basketball and his goal for this year is to help all the boys to improve and get better every day. During the school day, he teaches middle and high school social studies. “They are fun classes to teach, have a lot of real-world value to them, and I enjoy learning about the world.”

When asked why he wanted to teach basketball, he stated that “I enjoy coaching and teaching basketball a lot. Helping others has always been a passion of mine and so have athletics, so coaching is a way to combine the two. There are so many lessons and values that basketball can teach you that will be relevant in real life, and I try to have my players learn the game and carry on those values throughout their life.” said Coach Strauss.

Last year before the games, the boys shot on their own, worked on their ball-handling skills, and also reviewed a few shooting drills and plays. They usually have two meetings before the game, one during warmups to review plays and answer any questions, and then another right before the game to talk about their plan.

We improve as a team by doing practice drills. During our first week of practice, we have drills, drills, and drills”

— Jackson Ekstrom

Jackson Ekstrom, a 7th-grade basketball player, has been playing basketball for 4 years. “My favorite part about basketball is everything,” he said, “We improve as a team by doing practice drills. During our first week of practice, we have drills, drills, and drills.”

This year the middle school girls basketball coaches are Audrey Grunwald, who teaches 7th grade, and Melissa Huseth, who teaches 8th grade. This year is Melissa Huseth’s 3rd year of teaching basketball. She teaches 7th Grade Life Science and High school Anatomy and Physiology during school hours.

When asked what her previous experiences of coaching has taught her, she replied, “I love being a part of a team as an athlete and a coach, knowing that I have to give my best to my team/my athletes each day because I would expect them to do that too. I want the girls to not be afraid of putting themselves out there and occasionally making mistakes because mistakes lead to growth. I want girls to enjoy the time with their teammates and work together to achieve their goals.”

Last year each athlete was given a date to prepare motivation for the team. They met and she talked about her motivational quote so they could prepare mentally for the game. The girls then had about a 20 minute warm up to be ready for the game. This year the 7th and 8th graders are practicing together. “I am hoping to always see player growth,” said Coach Huseth.