The PH Boys’ Basketball Team’s Quest for #4

Jaried Siegel

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After winning three consecutive state-sectional titles, the Cowboys basketball team has very high expectations. Despite the graduation of three-year varsity players, Brian Horn and Andy Kovner, the Cowboys lineup includes three returning varsity players in Noah Tucker, Nick Hallowell, and Jordan Lazarus, each a key contributor to the team’s success last season. The Cowboys also get Robert Tonelli back in the lineup after a tough leg injury sidelined him for the entire 2012-2013 season. The Cowboys have a legitimate chance to once again claim a state sectional championship, making it four straight. However, the season hit a quick bump in the road, when Tucker went down with a broken fibula in the opening game of the season, a 66-47 win over Mahwah. As a result, a lot of weight has been placed on the shoulders of Lazarus to try to overcome the loss of such an important player and continue on the path to defend the Cowboys’ title. Recently, I caught up with Jordan to reminisce on his years playing for the Cowboys and to discuss the current season.

 

Q: What is your favorite part of being a member of the Cowboys basketball team?

Jordan Lazarus: We’ve become a family. And we have found a way to persevere when the going gets tough. Through all of the hard practices and difficult games, we have found a way to win and winning is the most enjoyable part of any sport.

 

Q: What are your main goals for this season? What constitutes a successful season for you?

A: Our main goal is winning a state sectional championship for the fourth year in a row. Anything but that would be disappointing for us. I don’t have many individual goals as other guys might have. I’m all about winning as a team. If we can win the big games and win another state sectional championship, the season is successful.

 

Q: How do you feel about the loss of Noah Tucker? What does it mean for this team? What will you have to do to overcome such an obstacle?

A: Losing Noah Tucker, arguably our best overall player, is a huge loss. As a team, each individual will have to step it up in some way to help out the team. Whether it is diving on the floor or taking a charge, every little detail of the game is even more important now. We will have to play a different style of basketball, like we did last year, playing with four guards and a smaller lineup. We just have to take one game at a time and play our best until he returns.

 

Q: Are you disappointed that you won’t be playing in college? Why?

A: Not really. Playing college basketball takes away from the enjoyment of a normal college experience. Basketball would run my life and I’m not interested in that. I do, however, plan on playing intermural basketball at Syracuse.

 

Q: What is your fondest memory of playing for the Cowboys?

A: My fondest memory of playing for the Cowboys was being part of the team last year (junior year). Although I wasn’t a member of all three state sectional championship teams, being a part of the second and third was a special memory. Beating Westwood on their home court is a memory I will never forget. Winning three state sectional championships in a row defines what Cowboys basketball has been about. Winning the game at Westwood is probably my fondest memory because I got to make a strong contribution to our success.

 

Q: What advice would you give to incoming Hills students who want to play basketball?

A: The best advice I can give is to put the work in off the court over the summer. This is a special program here, and everyone wants to be a part of it, but only the best are able to succeed. If you walk into our gym and look up at all the banners won by the basketball team in the past 5 years, it shows how consistently good we are. The best advice I can give is to work as hard as you can so you can be a part of the program.

 

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