Five Monterey seniors playing in last season together

Published 4:06 pm Monday, January 18, 2021

Monterey High School’s varsity basketball teams’ five seniors are more than just teammates, according to the players and their head coach Eric Richard. They are more like brothers.

Ethan Clark, Tyler Boyette and Cole Centanni walked across the court as a band of brothers after a timeout in Monterey’s game against Cathedral last week.

Richard said Daylen Gray and Calan McCartney — in addition to Clark, Boyette and Centanni — make up a group of five seniors who have played basketball together since the sixth grade.

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Richard said he has coached the five seniors for the past seven years and they have heard every type of speech he can give. Richard said he could not ask for a better group of guys.

“I’m not just talking about as basketball players,” Richard said. “I’m talking about as young men. They are what you would want in a basketball player, in a student and in a son. They are as good as it gets.”

Richard said the five seniors lead the other 14 boys on the basketball team by example because they know what Richard expects. Richard said he has coached at Monterey for the past 15 years.

Monterey has a population of about 450 people and Richard said the school has one major sport of basketball.

McCartney first moved to Monterey in second grade from Oak Grove, Louisiana, he said, adding the Monterey High School community welcomed him like family.

“They welcomed me. It has been great,” McCartney said. “Everyone knows you. If you are on the basketball team, they come to your games. It is a pretty special feeling.”

Boyette said the group of players he first knew in the sixth grade has dwindled down from 20 to the current five high school seniors on the team.

Boyette and Clark said they are gym brothers outside of school.

Each summer the band of brothers gets together to practice and work out three times a week, Clark said. The seniors will also get together to scrimmage at their school or at church, building solid team chemistry.

Boyette said his senior season is a little different because of COVID. Boyette said COVID has made the season unpredictable with games being canceled, including a game last week.

“One day you’re about to play a home coming game,” Boyette said. “Then the next day it is canceled because the other team is quarantined. It is what it is, but you got to make the most of it.”

McCartney said he has been grateful that Monterey has been able to play and he hopes they will keep rolling through the season. The Wolves current record is 11-4 with eight games left to play.

McCartney, Clark and Boyette said they are each cherishing and enjoying the moments together as the season gets closer and closer to an end.

“You get closer as the season ends, but this year it will be sad,” Clark said. “You are losing a brother, they are going to move on. The juniors are going to have to step up to the plate. It is hard, its tough and honestly it hurts.”

Last year, the Wolves made it to the regional round of the playoffs, where they lost on a heartbreaking buzzer beater, Richard said. The Stanley Panthers made a last second shot to win 43-41 and advance to the quarterfinals.

Richard said to have a good shot at winning a state title this year, Monterey would need a good draw in the first few rounds of the playoffs. Boyette said he puts his post-season hopes and dreams in God.

“Wherever my Lord and Savior takes me,” Boyette said. “Where ever he leads me, that is where I want to go.”