High-flying Eagles

Published 6:56 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Goshen High School’s boys’ basketball team finished the 2007-08 season with a disappointing 0-18 record, but the Eagles won their season opener against Florala to breathe new life into the program.

Senior Antwan Boswell knew the team could pull out the win.

“Honestly, to me there was no difference from last year to this year,” Boswell said. “I already knew we could do it, it was just a matter of time when we were going to do it. All we had to do was come together as a team and work hard.”

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Fellow senior Tyrese Wingard pulled motivation from a book he is reading.

“There is a saying in this book I am reading that says, ‘Winners play to win, but survivors play not to lose,” Wingard said. “That first game we came out with the attitude of knowing we were supposed to win and dominate that team and that is what we did.”

Boswell and Wingard are the heart and soul of the 2008-09 Eagles.

Wingard has a desire to win and a passion for soaking up as much knowledge about winning as he can. When he is not playing football or basketball he is at home reading a book. He just finished Jim Tressel’s book, “The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life” and he has moved on to another book about succeeding in basketball.

“Before this school year I used to play games a lot,” Wingard said. “But now I get home and I read. I started reading the books I am on during football season and it has made me motivated to come to practice.”

Boswell on the other hand, can’t get enough of the sport of basketball. When he is not playing a game or practicing with his fellow Eagles he can be found somewhere hooping it up.

“I like to play video games and I rap a little bit, but 75-80 percent of the time I am shooting a basketball,” Boswell said.

The two are the leaders of the Eagles, but their styles of leadership are vastly different.

Boswell is the coach-on-the-court type.

“When I see us slacking I have to tell them to pick it up,” Boswell said. “I always tell them to keep their heads up and we will get through it.”

Wingard is not a vocal leader, but he has another way to get his teammates to follow him.

“What I try to do is lead by example,” he said. “If I see they are slacking on layups or running I try to speed up because if they see me speeding up then they will try to speed up. Most of the time the younger people look up to the older people, so if they see us going hard they will go hard.”

They may have different personalities, but since Boswell showed up in Goshen three years ago, the teammates have always seemed to find each other on, and off, the court.

“I will always go to his house and we will hoop or he will come to my house and we will hoop,” Boswell said. “We will go anywhere outside of school to just shoot around and if we could get the whole team to do that we could be dominant.”

The duo uses that off-court chemistry to find each other on the court when it comes game time.

“We are always passing the ball back-and-forth to each other trying to create something and put some points on the board or get everybody else involved,” Wingard said.

GHS head coach Jonathan Deveridge said the combination of Boswell and Wingard has helped the Eagles to succeed this year. The Eagles had eight seniors on last year’s squad, but Deveridge said the difference this year has been the leadership of the pair of seniors.

“I had a team full of seniors last year and to be honest the leadership ability was there from those two, but they felt like they had to take a back seat to the seniors,” Deveridge said. “Not to knock last year’s seniors, but the senior leadership has been the difference this year.”

Deveridge said Boswell and Wingard are the two standout seniors, but the other three seniors have definitely helped along the way as well.

Deveridge said it has been a joy to coach the duo of Eagles during his two years as the head coach and he will miss them when they are gone next year.

“They have grown into two great young men and the sky is the limit for those two as long as they keep their heads on straight,” he said.