The Battle of the Creek conference took place at Walnut Creek’s Ultimate Field house on Jan. 27, 2019. The event hosted the Northgate and Los Lomas girls and boys basketball teams.
The athletes were honored with the presence of Associated Press Sports Reporter Janie McCauley, who coached the athletes through the press conference. This was meant to prepare students for college sports conferences and public speaking in the future. The question and answer session not only focused on the teams playing and how the rivalry encourages them, but on team bonding as well.
The Northgate Girls basketball team focused in detail on how they bonded throughout the season. The girls received insightful feedback from Coach Jim Croy’s younger brother Rick Croy. The team learned valuable tips on playing and connecting as a group, including a term called WAGE standing for “We’re all going to eat”. This means playing and winning does not happen with one person, but they have to enjoy success together. He also gifted them with another drill of locking hands to physically tie the girls together, which was a big turning point for the teams’ camaraderie .
The team was ecstatic about these new routines, including junior Eden Broussard who said, “We have always been a close knit team and really inclusive. Because we are a new team, with a new coach, we just wanted to go out there and play basketball [interlocking hands] really brought us together and everyone was really into it, and it made practice, like, ten times better.”
In addition to the Northgate Girls Basketball team, the Northgate Boys Basketball team was also in attendance. They discussed what motivates them, and why they play basketball. Coach Ron Pangilinan started the press conference by talking about how the team has developed throughout the season, and how much basketball means to him and the team.
“We live in such a basketball saturated area with so many good players and teams, that everything in our league is a battle. We have students that went to preschool, elementary, and middle school together and who live two or three miles from each other. It’s also bragging rights of the city and it is fun. I think that’s why we play high school sports,” Pangilinan expressed.
Senior Alden Friedman gave his input on why the Battle of the Creek is important to him and his teammates, saying, “I’ve been playing with and against a lot of the guys on that team since third grade, and I’ve been friends with them since then, so the rivalry means a lot because it’s our last year to play each other.”
The event was a great learning experience for the Walnut Creek teams and their futures whether in basketball or other public speaking opportunities. They were able to express their love for the game and teammates. The conference gave an insight into the basketball community at their schools.
Croy shared what coaching basketball at Northgate meant to him, “This is my first year coaching at Northgate and it’s been a really exciting and fun opportunity for me. I knew it was something I always wanted to do, to coach high school. I played at Northgate, so it’s extra special for me, and this has been a really fun experience. What I try to enforce is that we need to be a team.”