Opinion: Wade and the Eagles are wide awake and still learning, improving

 
 

Brandon Wade had just finished what, for him anyway, has been commonplace. He had 30 points and 10 assists in Skyline’s dramatic and impressive 87-77 win Thursday night over host Pioneer. Every time the Pioneers challenged, Wade and his teammates had an answer.

After the game, the senior point guard had an answer for the Eagles’ incredible success.

“We learned a lot of lessons (Thursday),” he said moments after beating city-rival Pioneer in a game Skyline led by just two points with 1 minute to play. “We need to learn how to win these close games especially heading into the playoffs. These close games are what will make us stronger for the playoffs and make us tougher to beat.”

One prevailing thought is a loss might just be a wakeup call for the Eagles. But that would conclude that the Eagles aren’t hungry enough and this team has an enormous appetite for success. Their approach takes nothing for granted, their commitment is on the highest level and their goals are clear and defined.

The Eagles are locked in and on point. Anyway, why would you want to wake up from a dream season?

“I really like the way we are playing right now,” said Wade, a four-year varsity player who is headed to the next level – Division 1 Duquesne – next year. “The connection we have on and off the court is something I really can’t explain. I don’t think anyone understands it beside us.

“We know what we can do when we play the way we are capable of playing.”

Wade is making a strong case for Mr. Basketball, awarded to the top player in the state. Helping his cause for this prestigious award is the Eagles’ 16-0 overall record against one of the toughest schedules in the state – Skyline purposely loaded up the non-league schedule with the likes of Belleville, Romulus, Wayne Memorial, Detroit Pershing, Lansing Waverly.

Wade isn’t thinking about postseason awards right now. His focus is on the team, playing one possession, one quarter, one game at a time. But while the Eagles appear focused and business-like in their approach, don’t think they aren’t enjoying the ride. Beating Pioneer on Thursday night was very much a big deal.

“It was great entertainment for the crowd but defensively it was a little frustrating,” Wade said with a big smile after his backcourt showdown with Pioneer standout guard Drew Lowder (28 points). “At the end, we got the stop when we needed to.”

It was an exhausting game to watch, let alone play in.

“Luckily, the strength and conditioning coach had me ready for this one,” said Wade about chasing Lowder all over the court. “We are prepared for games like this. I love playing against Drew. He’s very good and very competitive. All the respect to him.”

A lesson learned, indeed. Respect your opponent.

This team clearly does not need a wake-up call. They are wide awake, still learning, still improving – and still winning.

 

 

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