|West Jefferson Middle School’s seventh-grade basketball team included: (front row, from left) Joey Lowe, Kile Cochran, Ryan Love, Zach Pearson, and Dallas Mclean; (back row) A.J. Casa, Tim Hodge, Kyle Rollins, Coach Kenny Love, Skylar Riggle, Tyler Trein, Hayden Murray, Chris Ramsey, Andrew Wears and Austin Underwood.|
In his first season as head coach for the West Jefferson Middle School seventh-grade boys’ basketball team, Kenny Love and a team of 15 students soared to an unprecedented season record of 17 wins and no losses.
Ending with a blow-out victory, 46-27 over Grandview Heights Middle School, the undefeated season will go on record as the first of any boys’ athletic team at West Jefferson Middle School.
“I told them they could shave my head if we went undefeated,” said Love, who kept his promise after the team finished the regular season with a record of 14 wins.
The two teams that tied for second place in the league, Grandview Heights and Harvest Preparatory School, were the only teams that came close to beating West Jefferson.
“We had some very tough games with Grandview during the season,” said Love.
West Jefferson fought back from a 7-point deficit to win in double overtime 48-47 when the team played Grandview at Grandview.
A second monumental victory occurred when West Jefferson played away at Harvest Preparatory.
“It surprised everyone because West Jeff has been in the league with Harvest Prep for the last two years, and I don’t think anybody’s ever beat them at any level in basketball,” said Love.
West Jefferson won the game 57-50.
The rest of the team’s victories were blow-outs, according to Love, which meant that most of the players enjoyed playing time.
“That usually doesn’t happen,” said Love.
The team’s success most likely stems from its extended history together. Most of the team members played in fourth, fifth and sixth grades on the same travel team.
“Everybody really already has their roles and knows what to do,” said Love.
Not only that, but two of the team’s players are over 6 feet tall.
The success of this season bodes well for next.
“This class next year is going to dominate the eighth-grade league,” predicted Love, who would like to continue coaching the team.