A Season in Review: Boys’ Basketball

This story is part of a series detailing seasons that finished before the coronavirus postponement.

With the boys’ basketball season in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look back on their memorable 2019-2020 season. The team started out very strong, having earned a 10-1 record through the first eleven games. Two of those ten wins were against a very tough Hartfield Academy team. Prep won those games due to a strong defensive effort and an outstanding display of scoring by Cam Brent. After the strong start, the team hit a speed bump. Losing a few winnable games, Coach Tim Wise quickly got his team back on track after regrouping with his coaching staff and making a few lineup changes.

Hannah Grace Biggs
Junior Jaylen Bolden shoots a free throw at the MAIS tournament.

Adding Jaylen Bolden to the starting lineup was a change that certainly benefited the team. Bolden’s offensive presence along with Brent’s ability to navigate the floor was simply too much for defenses to handle, causing concern for other coaches on how to stop them. 

The unsung hero for this team was senior Sam Buchanan. Buchanan was given the nickname “butt kicker” by Coach Wise because when he was on the court he simply dominated. It seemed as if he snatched up every loose ball. Not only was Buchanan a great asset to the team, but he was also a great mentor to the younger kids, giving them all kinds of valuable advice for their next few years. Because of his stellar play on the court, he was named to the MAIS All-Star team. 

One memorable game was the rematch with cross-town rival MRA. MRA had beaten Prep in the first meeting between the two teams, but the Patriots were now ready to defend their home court. Prep dominated that game, winning 61-44, led by senior Andrew Purvis’ amazing play. Cam Brent and Jaylen Bolden also put forward impressive displays.

The divisional tournament came around and the Patriots were outstanding, beating PCS to get into the championship game against MRA. Despite playing a sound game, Prep lost in the championship to MRA. But, their season was not over yet, as the overall tournament was right around the corner.

Hannah Grace Biggs
Sam Buchanan clears the lane as he attacks the rebound and a Simpson Academy opponent.

During the MAIS overall tournament, Prep knocked off Columbia Academy, the 3A division’s number one ranked team. After the Columbia game came the true test: Heritage Academy, the team that beat prep in the tournament last year. Heritage was led by their center and future Ole Miss offensive linemen, Eli Acker. Acker dominated early in the game and things were not looking good for Prep. In the locker room at halftime the team was down by ten, but, after a motivating speech by Coach Wise, the team was ready to go get the win.

The Prep team that emerged in the third quarter was a completely different team than the team that started the game. Acker got into foul trouble due to Sam Buchanan’s smart defensive play. Prep absolutely dominated in the third quarter, only allowing five points and scoring 25. Prep would end up winning the game 59-37, punching their ticket to the championship game against Simpson Academy.

Prep fought hard, but Simpson was just too much for the Patriots. Although the team did not accomplish what they wanted in the end, they still overachieved and left a lot of optimism for next year. Key players returning to the team next season are Cam Brent, Jaylen Bolden, Lampton Moore, and Walker Craddock. Although the 2020 senior class will be missed, the future looks bright for the Patriots.