Boys Basketball Making History


Makenzie Hooton

On the court, senior Byron Alexander dribbles the past a defender from Park Hill South High School Jan. 15. The players agree that a big part of their success is due to the good relationships they have with each other. “I just feel like we have really good chemistry on and off the court and it definitely helps us when we play against tougher opponents.” said Alexander.

Cassie Ford

The boys varsity basketball team had their most successful season yet by going the furthest in school history.

“We became the first Staley team to win the William Jewell Tournament and C.W. Stessmen Tournament, as well as being the first Staley team to win conference and districts,” said senior Byron Alexander. “We also continued winning in the post season to become the first team to make it to the semifinals in Springfield which was cancelled due to the coronavirus.”

Coach Christopher Neff said the connection among the players and coaches was the reason for their success.

“Our players love basketball, love spending time together and absolutely love playing basketball together,” said Neff. “The greatest compliment we could receive as a team is that our guys look like they love playing together, and that they are having so much fun.”

Alexander agreed that the strong bond with not only the players but the coaches as well was a big factor to how well they functioned as a team.

“We really treat each other like family,” said Alexander. “We all treated each other like we were brothers. We succeed as one; we fail as one. I held everyone accountable as a big brother should.”

Senior D.J. Pitia said the team staying on top of things at the beginning of the season is what helped lead them to their wins during the winter.

“When I first came to Staley, the basketball team hadn’t really done much up to date. So, we put in the necessary work needed to become a successful team,” said Pitia. “It feels great knowing that we were the team and group of seniors that laid the foundation for all of the teams in the future.”

Neff said they would reflect on all of the work, struggles and failures that led them to the history-making moments and said they would appreciate and enjoy the work they had accomplished.

“There was nothing different about the work we did than the previous years other than the amount of people who were invested and holding their fellow teammates accountable to the standards we had set,” said Neff.

The team was winning and was on their way to play in the state semifinals in Springfield, Missouri, but it was cancelled along with the rest of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is very difficult to have made it to the point we did only to have it end the way it did,” said Neff.

Alexander said that not competing at state was a big loss but that the health and safety of the players was more important.

“I am more distraught about the fact that I won’t play with my teammates again. We had a great season, and unfortunately it had to come to an end sooner than expected,” said Alexander. “But I will stay in touch with the team and coaches because we have become such good friends.”

At first Pitia was really disappointed to find out that state was cancelled, but said there were good things that he was still thankful for.

I was also appreciative that the state allowed us to continue into sectionals as other states around us cancelled in earlier rounds,” said Pitia. “I was also happy that I could say I won my last high school game because many seniors can’t get to say that.”

Although they were looking forward to state, Neff said there was no reason to be upset.

“I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that we were looking very forward to going to Springfield to play for a state championship,” said Neff. “But we were so appreciative of the opportunity to have played as long as we did and to have had people caring about our wellbeing and our legacy that we had no reason to be mad.”

Pitia said the basketball program at would continue on to great things in the next season like this year’s team did.


“Under the coaching of coach Neff, coach Williams, coach Quigley and all of the Staley coaches, I feel as if the players continue to trust and believe in them, they will continue to succeed,” said Pitia.

Neff said there is a lot to look forward to next year and that yes, they had a great season, but there is still a lot to accomplish and improve on. 

 “This was the best defensive team that I have ever coached,” said Neff. “I cannot wait to get back together with my guys and work to become the best people, best teammates, and best basketball team that we can.”