Team maintains perfect record

Boys’ basketball work ethic paying off

Ethan Brown

Junior Mykal Howard steps on the court each game, knowing the Orioles are protecting something — an undefeated record.

The team improved its record to 5-0 after beating Hastings 80-58 Dec. 4, Howard said.

“In the locker room everyone is so proud of each other,” Howard said. “We’re all so close and such good friends off of the court and that transfers onto the court.”

Howard, who currently averages nine points per game, said he attributes his improved playing style to his hard work during the offseason with his Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team.

“I had a lot of success playing with my AAU team,” Howard said. “I’ve also done a lot of work with my coach Arsenio Richardson, who helped me take my game to a new level offensively.”

Head coach Dave Breitenbucher said he praised Howard’s rebounding skill and said it’s uncommon for someone 6-foot-1 to average seven rebounds per game.

“Mykal has been huge for us on the boards. To have a guard do what he’s doing for our rebounding is great,” Breitenbucher said. “He’s doing the little things that go unnoticed.”

Howard said he thinks the team’s start can be attributed to strong offensive play, but its defense needs improvement.

“We’ll need to tighten up on the defensive end,” Howard said. “Our schedule is starting to get harder in these next couple weeks.”

Breitenbucher said sophomore Cire Mayfield, in his first year on varsity, made a large impact on the team’s success in its first five games.

“Cire is one of the best passers I’ve ever had. He has amazing court vision, and he’s making great shots,” Breitenbucher said. “He’s a great addition to the team and has a really good understanding of the game.”

Breitenbucher said while the team’s morale is high, he pressures them not to look too far ahead in the season.

“I always tell the players that we can’t look at big season goals. Instead, we have to look at little goals, like getting better at practice,” Breitenbucher said. “If you can break the season down into these baby steps, we can get to where we need to be at the end of the year.”

The Orioles’ next game takes place 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School.