The Phoenix

Cizek, Hendler lead Fire to #8 ranking

The boys basketball team started the season out on a strong note and have high hopes of making it all the way to the state tournament this year. Last year, they almost made it to the tournament, finishing the season with a narrow loss to Breck in the section semis. In their first game of the season this year, they faced those old rivals and were able to take the win beating Breck 71-64.

The team continued to play well, led by Coach Matt Thuli, and senior captains Nate Hendler, Lincoln Cizek, and Griffin Johnson. As the team approaches the middle of the regular season, the goal is to continue improving as a whole, so that by the time sections roll around they will be ready to compete.

Captain Lincoln Cizek gave his thoughts on the season thus far saying, “Our team has put itself where we want to be going into the new year. After losing back-to-back games in early December and starting our nine game away stretch, we managed to rebound and put seven straight wins under our belt. It’s good for us going into the second half of our season because it shows that we can play with a lot of the good teams we have left on the schedule.”

As an individual, Cizek also recently beat the 10 year old school steals record that was previously held by Trent Johnson from the class of 2008. In the team’s game against Glencoe-Silver Lake, Lincoln accumulated his 181st steal that put him over the 180 steal school record. As the season continues, he will hopefully add to his record.

Additionally, captain Nate Hendler scored his 1000th point in that same game versus Glencoe-Silver Lake, which is very hard to do in just four seasons of high school basketball. This year alone, Nate leads the team in points per game, averaging 19.5 points per contest, for a total of 215. Nate will continue to exceed 1000 points as the season furthers and is excited to keep playing great basketball: “Our team is playing with a lot of confidence and we are winning games. Who doesn’t have fun doing that? My 1000th point is just an added bonus to the excitement surrounding the season,” said Hendler.

Captain Griffin Johnson put it nicely when he stated “So far we’ve been playing great basketball, especially during our 7-game winning streak, but we have to stay focused, maintain momentum and keep getting better during the tough conference schedule.”

As the team prepares to play their 9th game away against Holy Angels tomorrow at 3, they hope to improve on their current record of 9-2 and their #8 ranking in Class 2A.

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