Jefferson girls basketball prepares for the season


Junior Sarabeth Joyner lifts a dumbbell in the Jefferson weight room while sophomore Alexandra Fall spots and encourages her. The basketball players are mid-conditioning, where they exercise to build muscle and stamina. “Conditioning days [are] fun because you’re sore the day after and it feels really good,” freshman Aditi Shukla said.

Girls interested in basketball have been attending preseason practices at Jefferson after school since mid-September, to refresh their skills or even learn basketball for the first time. 

After weeks of practice, players will show-off their skills at tryouts from Nov. 11 to Nov. 15. For freshmen and upperclassmen alike, the pre-season practices allow them to meet the coaches and potential teammates, and get used to the basketball routine they will follow if they make the team. 

“Basketball pre-season helps you feel more confident going into tryouts. I have done basketball in the past couple years, but a lot of people have done it in fourth grade and now they’re coming back to it. So pre-season really helps them get back into basketball,” said freshman Aditi Shakula.

Preseason practices are split into green days and conditioning days. This allows players to both strengthen themselves through conditioning, and practice basic basketball techniques. Conditioning begins with exercises done on the football field and track behind the school. A short warmup period transitions into multiple running drills. Next, the players move into the weight room where they strengthen their biceps, triceps, and quads through weight-lifting activities. 

“Green days are when we brush up on basketball and do drills. We also have conditioning days which are particularly hard. We do different exercises, lift weights, and run,” Shukla said. 

Although pre-season is focused on helping players improve essential skills before tryouts, its value goes beyond athleticism. 

“You get to know a lot of the players way before the season starts and it’s nice, for a freshman, to have an upperclassman to mentor and and give you advice. Preseason helps bring the different teams together. Whether if you’ll be on the freshman or varsity team, the teams already know each other, and the community is already there,” senior Grace Cullen said. 

The preseason also poses an opportunity for players to become familiar with the attitude basketball requires. 

“It shows you camaraderie and teamwork. But more than that, you are now personally responsible for a collective effort. [It’s about] owning yourself and owning your personal responsibility but knowing that there are other people out there that rely on you,” head coach Cameron Johnson said. 

“In my eight years here, this has been the best fall I’ve seen,” Johnson said. “You can see a difference in a lot of these kids, you know they certainly get a lot of out of it [the game]. Also, they’re tight now [after] getting used to each other.”