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CENTRAL HIGH —
Even before football season ends, seniors Kevin Harris and John Repp start their basketball season.
It’s just a little bit of shoot around before football practice, but it makes a world of difference. That’s why when you walk into the new gym and coach John Nease is working with the middle school kids, Repp and Harris are helping out.
“It actually helps, because we got in and shot during the football season also,” Harris said.
The difference between Repp and Harris’ situation and players at other schools is the impact of their play on the basketball team. While other schools may have players who contribute to the team, Repp and Harris are the two leading scorers for the Bronchos. This has built a unique bond between them and Repp says it helps him thrive.
“We’re best friends. We do everything together,” Repp said. “We’ll say, ‘You want to go lift, or you want to go shoot’ or something like that and every time he asks I’ll do it. It’s pretty neat having him to help me get through everything, and I’ll help get him through everything.”
While the players get used to physically playing basketball, it’s another thing to get over the emotional difficulty of a season ending. Three out of the four years that the two players have been at Central High, the football team has made the state playoffs. Every year, that run ended with a loss, but they had to recoup to make sure there wasn’t a drop in their production.
“We get to where we are all pumped up and ready to move on, then it ends,” Repp said. “That whole first week of basketball is a little depressing, but then we start focusing on basketball.”
Nease has always encouraged his players to play all the other sports, especially football. He thinks a lot of skills needed to play the game can also translate to the football field. Repp and Harris have proven that point, scoring 27 and 19 points in their first two games, both wins.
“Having them together makes it easy on me, because I can count on them to put points up for me each night,” Nease said. “They’ve done it for so long. They put a lot of time in on the court.”
Their roles haven’t always been as the main conduits on offense. They have grown a lot since they played games as freshmen and Nease says that’s all part of the change that has occurred the past four years.
“They haven’t always been my main scorers,” Nease said. “They’ve always been able to adapt and step up to the challenge and say, ‘Even if I’m not starting, I know what my role is. I know my job on the team and I’m willing to do that.’”
The biggest help from playing football is the expectation of winning. Harris says that provides a lot of motivation.
“It’s like a challenge, because we made it to state,” Harris said. “But we need to make this change quick so we can also go to state in basketball.”