The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

The Panther

The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

The Panther

The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

The Panther

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Palmetto’s Up-And-Coming Stars: The Freshmen of the Varsity Basketball Team

Seth Clarin

The MPSH varsity basketball team looks a lot different compared to last year. With many seniors on the team graduating, a new group of underclassmen fill the team’s roster. Transition is what defines this year’s season, seen most clearly by the fact that the team contains three freshman players and only one senior. These three freshmen: Marcos Alberich, Sebastian Madera and Samfree Sarante are a part of this new generation of MPSH basketball players. 

“This is the first season that I’ve been a coach here that we have had freshmen on varsity,”  Head Coach Alex Ordoqui said. “This year we have three, but typically they play JV freshman year.”

While it is out of the norm for freshmen to make varsity, this does not mean they are not prepared. 

“They were just physically and mentally ready. Obviously, it still comes with challenges, improving and all that but they were beyond being junior varsity basketball players,” Ordoqui said.

Marcos Alberich

“My play style is more like, just go out there and have fun, because I feel like I play best when I have fun and when I just don’t think about it and I play with instinct, and just work on stuff and use the game,” Alberich said. 

Even before the tryout, Alberich was a promising candidate for the team. According to Ordoqui, they knew he had the most game experience of the freshmen who made the team, and he was ready to make the jump to varsity. Alberich has started every game this season and is averaging 11 points and four rebounds per game with a 38% field goal percentage. Alberich’s listed position on MaxPreps is as a small forward, which is in line with the number of 3-pointers he takes and the number of perimeter shots.

Going from playing club to playing high school basketball will always be an adjustment. The process includes adjusting from playing pre-teens to well-trained teenage adults. Despite this challenge, Alberich has taken this task head-on to meet the moment and do his best for the team.

“It’s been a little hard, getting used to it because guys are faster, stronger and more athletic. But, my teammates in practice and working against these guys who are also faster and stronger than me help me to improve when I go against other people in the game,” Alberich said.

Beyond the physical aspect of the game, a large part of playing basketball is mental. A lack of confidence or nervousness can affect a player’s game.

“If you’re not mentally in the game and you’re nervous. It’s always good to be nervous. But when you’re nervous and going into the game kind of scared, that’s the worst thing you can do,” Alberich said.

While Aberich has had a good start to his high school career, he is not content with standing still. In the future, he wants to win awards such as Miami-Dade County’s Player of the Year and potentially get recruited by colleges to play at the next level.

Samfree Sarante

Sarante is a player who likes to play the game at a different speed. Rather than being the one to take the shot, he likes to create opportunities for his teammates to make big plays.

“I play slower than other people. I play with more, I would say pace. I don’t speed myself up really much and am more of a team player,” Sarante said. “I like passing the ball around and getting my teammates shots.”

A player with a selfless attitude is valuable to any basketball team, as a player willing to set picks and pass on top of being a good shooter in their own right is vital to a winning team. Sarante has played in all five games this season, averaging 8.5 points per game.  

“Sam, first of all, his mindset is very good. He’s very locked into improving in basketball every day. He doesn’t understand how good he is yet because his mindset is just trying to get better every day. He’s very humble in the way he approaches things. He’s very well rounded, he can really shoot the ball and he’s a good defender,” Ordoqiu said.

Though Sarente plays for MPSH, his experience is unlike that of his other teammates. Being homeschooled, Sarente drives to school every day for practice. Despite this, he loves playing for the school and feels a lot of pride in being on the team. 

“I definitely feel like high school isn’t like anything I experienced at club basketball. It’s more than just going out there and playing. Here it’s like you’re playing for something and playing for people,” Sarante said.

Sebastian Madera 

Madera was side-lined during Friday’s game due to a hand injury. Dealing with injury in sports is always a difficult process, but for Madera, there is an extra level of frustration since this injury is happening early in his first season.

“We were practicing and I had a weird movement when I had gone for a layup. Then somehow, my finger got caught in the net and then I got hurt,” Madera said. “I’m missing tonight’s game and I’m not really too happy about that but once I get better I just want to work.”

While he will be missing at least one and possibly two more games, coaches and players alike are excited to see the center return to the court.

“Sebastian just has natural athleticism. I said it to our team. He’s the most basketball-looking player on the program. He’s athletic, he can dunk. He’s scratching the surface of how good he’s gonna be,” Ordoqui said.

Alberich, Sarante and Madera are young players who will be with this team for the next four years.

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About the Contributors
Justin Fechter
Justin Fechter, Staff Writer
Justin Fechter is a junior and is a Staff Writer. This is his first year on staff, and he looks forward to writing stories on topics he is passionate about. Aside from newspaper, Fechter enjoys aviation and traveling and exploring new places.
Seth Clarin
Seth Clarin, Multimedia Photo Editor
Seth Clarin is a freshman and Multimedia Photo Editor. This is his first year on staff, and he looks forward to taking action pictures and sharing his passion for sports with readers. Aside from newspaper, Clarin enjoys playing basketball, playing video games and working out.