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Concordia Lutheran's Jace Jeffries
WHAT AN ADDITION JACE JEFFRIES WAS THIS SEASON TO THE CONCORDIA LUTHERAN HOOP TROUPE, ON AND OFF THE COURT.
The St. Thomas-transfer fit right in with teammates Jesse Fuller and Howie Keene to lead to an undefeated district season and an Area Round appearance.
The junior looks forward to playing an even bigger role in 2023-24.
“Of course, it’s going to be a big responsibility for me,” said Jeffries. “We had a pretty good season, but we know there’s more work to be done. We have a good group of guys, and I feel like as a senior I need to lead them into a winning position. So, we know our purpose in what we do, and we’ll go hard every day.”
In addition to dishing assists on the court, Jeffries spends his free time assisting the community by helping to train the younger generation of ballplayers at Alodia Basketball Academy.
“I always try to give back to the youth,” he said. “It’s always been a big part of my life, because when I was a kid I looked up to people. They look at a kid who’s teaching them the drills three times a week and I think that makes them appreciate it more. So, now I want these kids who look up tome to succeed.”
Given his palpable dedication to the game, it’s not hard to see why he’s become a standout in Concordia Lutheran hoops.
2022-23 Concordia Lutheran BasketballJustin Hartojo (VYPE)
“I think my hard work and motivation helps to set me apart,” Jeffries said. “Getting up in the morning, not just for basketball – it might be for the classroom or something else. I’m always trying to better myself in my work ethic, without cutting any corners.”
It’s only a matter of time before that translates onto the hardwood in a major way.
FBCA's Jaden Araiza
WITH THE ARRIVAL OF NEW COACH BRANDON SCOTT AND HIS NEW CULTURE, THE EAGLES LOOKED FOR A SENIOR TO BE THE VOICE IN THE LOCKER ROOM.
No voice was stronger than Jaden Araiza’s.
“The culture this year was a lot different than in previous seasons,” said Araiza. “I would say the team had an overall closer bond with each other. Coming into the season, we had a much younger roster, so we had to communicate more. We hung out pretty often outside of practice and games, which really helped with the team chemistry. No matter what, we didn’t really take a day off. The environment prompted us to get better, which I really appreciated.”
Bradley C. Collier (VYPE)
While facing off against some fierce opposition, namely TWCA and Second Baptist School, FBCA was always on the precipice of the district title. The Eagles finished the regular season fourth in district and advanced to the Area Round of the TAPPS State Tournament.
Araiza certainly set the tone for the Eagles, having surpassed the 1,000-point career mark just before the playoffs. He was the district leader in points and assists en route to a first team, all-district and TAPPS State Honorable Mention selection.
Considering the team’s youth, Araiza was expected to take up a leadership role.
2022-23 FBCA BasketballBradley C. Collier (VYPE)
“I think we were the youngest team in our district, so I had to keep all the guys in check,” Araiza said. “I had a huge responsibility which I essentially took on for myself, because I knew I was able to do it. Luckily, Coach Scott trusted me to fulfill that leadership role. I just wanted to lead the guys and show people what I can do.”
As he will be graduating from FBCA in the coming months, what are Araiza’s plans for the future of his athletic career?
“Currently, I am uncommitted,” he said. “I am talking with some coaches and I’ve gotten some offers, but I haven’t really made a decision yet. I’m taking some time to think it over, but I’m just really excited to play basketball at the next level.”
Wherever he chooses to go, the future is bright for Jaden Araiza after being the lead bird of FBCA hoops.