Thornton has a new varsity boys’ basketball coach. But the Trojans program isn’t new to him. In fact, he’s trying to improve the system by building a new dynamic, taking the team into a different direction for the 2013-2014 season.
Head coach Geoff Girsch coached the JV team for two years before accepting the varsity position this year, after former coach Sercan Fenerci agreed to coach at Lamar Community College.
Girsch wants to be recognized. Not only by the other basketball programs in the state, but also by the community. He wants people to come to the games that don’t have necessarily a connection with the school, but live in the area.
The Trojans want the community to be supportive of what the team is doing on and off the court. Girsch said it’s been a while since the boy’s program has had that acknowledgment.
“I think when you hear the word `Thornton’ for the past couple of years, there necessarily haven’t been positive connotations in terms of our basketball,” Girsch said. “Coach Sercan did an excellent job of bringing us from four wins to 14 over the past two years, but it’s my job to keep that going.”
Junior forward Daezionte Henderson said the basketball squad wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the public.
“Without the community, we wouldn’t be able to have the team,” Henderson said. “We’re playing for a community. We represent Thornton.”
The Trojans would also like to be recognized as one of the top 32 teams in the state. In order to do that, Thornton has set a goal to host a playoff game in their home gym.
They also want to keep their home winning streak alive from last year. Senior guard Omar Juarez said the fans were the reason they collected so many home wins last season.
“Last year we got a lot of crowd and that helped us to play even harder on our home court,” senior guard Omar Juarez said.
Besides being recognized by the Thornton community and the other Colorado teams, Girsch wants to implement discipline into the program. Girsch wants to create a disciplined, but fun style of basketball.
Girsch expects his players to come to practice on time and every day, while also maintaining a GPA above a 3.0. He said the team needs to push themselves to improve not just individually, but as an entire squad.
“The goal is to get kids into college,” Girsch said. “We’re not going to put up with kids that aren’t willing to put forth the effort.”
Some of the returning players for the Trojans, besides Henderson and Juarez, are senior forward Brynaum Cain and senior guard Tristan Collette.
Girsch has coached Juarez when he was on the JV team a few years ago. Girsch said Juarez has grown in the last two years and is someone who can handle the ball really well. Henderson has been playing on varsity since his freshman year.
“He’s one of our leaders this year,” Girsch said of Henderson. “He’s a great scorer in the paint and his defense and rebounding is why we never took him out of a game.”
By implementing discipline into the team this year, and making the players understand how important community is, Girsch believes Thornton will receive the recognition, by the public and other team, they are seeking.
“We hope that the style of basketball we play, and more importantly, the kids that we have, are reflective of how the community sees us,” Girsch said. “It’s something that would really help us for our home games if we can get a crowd that just wants to see the kids succeed.”