Prep boys' basketball: Seniors lead Stansbury's charge
Seniors often can be selfish in their final campaigns, desirous to do their own thing as a last hurrah in their high-school careers.
That is not the case with Ryan Robbins, Stone Tia and Niko Chacon at Stansbury High School. As part of the first graduating class to have attended Stansbury all four years of their high-school career, they have made it a main objective this season to prepare their younger teammates for future success in the Stallions' program.
"I think we've all kind of taken that on just because we have such a young team when it comes to playing time," said Robbins, who leads a balanced attack with an average of 14.9 points per game entering this week. "I think every little insight we can give them is just that much more knowledge that they can use on the floor, and I feel like we've all done a really good job of that, trying to help our younger players."
For Chacon, leading the younger players is his way of thanking former players who helped him in past years.
"When we were juniors and sophomores, we had that," he said. "I hope that I'm doing it to see what the younger players can get from me."
Each of the three has carved out his own niche on the floor, but all three know everyone's roles well. Like a broken record, they all use nearly identical language when independently describing each other's talents.
Robbins is the athletic wing who plays with energy and emotion. Tia is the rugged post player most often responsible for defending the opponent's best big man. Chacon is the floor leader, a calming counterpart to his teammates.
Together, they are leading the Stallions through a challenging season. Stansbury entered the week 7-10, but four of those losses have come by a combined 11 points.
"Lately it's been frustrating," Tia said. "There have definitely been a lot of games that we've played this year that we thought we could've won, but I feel like we're moving in the right direction and we're improving."
Stallions coach Ryan Harris places much of the credit for that on the shoulders of his three seniors.
"We've got an awesome group of kids, and really it's those three guys who really lead the charge," Harris said. "What I love is that we've got those guys who are influencing our younger kids. It's nice when your best players are the embodiment of all you want as a coach."
Despite the struggles, Tia has confidence that his team can achieve one big goal before the trio's prep careers end.
"I'm just hoping that we can peak at the right time and get on track and get into Stansbury history as the first varsity basketball playoff team," he said.