BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - The Pender High School boys basketball team wasn’t worried after losing four of seven games to start the season.
The players and coaches knew they were getting better by playing a challenging schedule.
“You play tougher teams and it gets you ready for all different types of scenarios that your face in deep runs in the playoffs,” said Patriots coach Ray Hankins.
“I feel like it built our mental game and just made us focus harder and showed us what we need to work on,” added senior Asad Johnson.
The team is led by do it all senior guard Jujuan Carr, who makes a point to get his teammates involved.
“Everyone knows what Jajuan can do,” said Johnson. “For him to come to Pender High School and really facilitate and do what he does as a guard and to get us all involved is really something special.”
“It's easy to get others involved because my teammates are in the right spots, so it's really not difficult. They always make it easy,” added Carr.
Carr is still being recruited by college coaches but isn’t letting that get in the way of the team goals.
"I embrace the opportunity to play at the next level and to have schools look at me,” Carr said. “During the season I try not to focus on that. I try to focus on winning games and preparing for games instead of where I'm going to go to school and play."
Patriots head coach Ray Hankins believes it’s that attitude that makes his team special.
“This team can go as far as it wants to,” said Hankins. “They love to play together. The chemistry is very close-knit.”