As the saying goes, ‘To be the best, you have to beat the best.’
That was the thinking Hopewell Junior High Basketball coach Doug Biega had before this season when putting together his programs schedule.
His team showed how good they were last season by finishing the season 15-0 and pretty much dominating every game. The reality was that his group of players wasn’t challenged at all, as their average margin of victory was 39 points.
While that’s certainly impressive and made the players feel good, the question was were they getting better by not being challenged.
Biega did something about that and made the decision to have the Vikings junior high program play up a section in competition.
This year, Hopewell has played teams such as West Allegheny, South Fayette and tomorrow they’ll face their toughest test in two years as they host Sewickley Academy.
On the eve of tomorrow afternoon’s big game, Hopewell Sports Nation caught up with Biega to get his thoughts on the importance of the matchup against Sewickley Academy.
“Just like this entire high level schedule, a game like this against Sewickley Academy has a purpose.,” said Biega. “As this group advances into high school and the stakes loom larger, they’re going to have to overcome obstacles such as this.”
Just to give you an example of how talented Sewickley Academy is, Biega puts them in pretty lofty company.
“This team is the junior high equivalent of Lincoln Park,” said Biega. “They are a borderless school that has every imaginable advantage. They have the Pittsburgh Penguins strength and conditioning coach, they have a training facility that is better than any the NBA possesses, they have a roster from all over Western Pennsylvania, and they are a 12 month per year competitive basketball program. Basically a high level AAU team in junior high playing a public school schedule.”
For the first time in two years, this group of talented Hopewell players will be decided underdogs. But you can be sure that’s something that doesn’t both Biega or these players. Actually, they’re probably looking forward to it.
“We are not even supposed to be competitive with stuff like that. We are a small public school with a limited to bad basketball history. So we can see how good we really can be, as well as, like I said previously, prepare for schools like this moving forward into high school.”
If your schedule permits, tip-off for tomorrow’s game is at 3:30 pm from the Hopewell Junior High School. The team would no doubt like to play in front of a loud, packed gym.