By Brandon Haynes
In the span of 17 games what’s more impressive: averaging over 16 points, shooting nearly sixty percent from the field or draining over thirty-six percent of the three point shots you take?
Whatever your answer may be, for Seckman High’s Josh Herget, these feats have become a reality for the standout senior. Through Josh’s exceptional play, the team has cruised to a 8-9 record thus far and is prepared to challenge any foe.
On January 15th, Seckman, while sitting at 5-5 in the standings, played a local rival in Mehlville High School. For the Jaguars, this game fell amidst a three game losing streak, and was the third consecutive game they played away from their home court. Although the odds were stacked against the Jags, they used grit and toughness to guide themselves to a thrilling 68-66 victory. In the win, Herget scored 24 points while junior Nathan Mertz added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Following the victory, Herget emphasized that the triumph “brought us together as a team and showed what we are capable of when we are playing our best.” The Seckman Varsity basketball team will always remember this game as one that has defined who they are and what it takes to be successful.
For most of the season, Seckman has struggled to win games at home and even went through a daunting six-week stretch where they lost seven of nine contests, including five home games, which plunged their overall record from 5-2 to 7-9. The grind through this stretch challenged Seckman’s mentality once again and as Herget expressed, “We had a skid where we played 3 out of 4, 3 home games, and lost all three of them. … You never want to be in that spot.”
Josh’s mentality is one which resonates throughout the entire locker room and exhibits the adversity that a team can face within a season. Although Seckman has endured this painful stretch of basketball, Herget affirms “We’re getting back in there now and we are starting to play better.” Following this assertion, the team played true to his word and blew out Northwest Cedar Hill High School on February 12th. In the 84-52 win, junior Allen Grahovic recorded 23 points on eighty-percent shooting and Herget tallied 20 points along with 8 rebounds. The statement victory has the Jaguars headed in the right direction as they begin to complete league play and focus on Districts.
Although the team has not had the success they hoped to have, they remain motivated in their quest for a district championship. In the recent interview with Josh Herget, he accentuated that “I really want to get a district championship. Maybe win a conference … get us a banner up there.’ ” In a year where the team has sustained adversity through recent stretches of games and playing amidst a pandemic, their goal remains the same. A district championship appears to be attainable for this team, which has displayed a grit and intensity that reverberates throughout the entire team.
As for their confidence, well Seckman has that too as showcased by Herget’s response when asked whether he’s confident about achieving a district championship, “I am… I think Jackson would be our biggest opponent. I don’t think anyone else has much for us. I think if we play our best, I don’t think we will have a problem. ” With this confidence and a team that appears to be flowing in the right direction, Seckman will give whoever they face a challenge and has the ability to withstand any test.
Throughout the season, the team has faced many adversities that have hindered their ability to win, but with the leadership from Coach Travis Williams and advice from Herget, they have overcome those to become a better basketball team. Coach Williams has been instrumental in Seckman’s success and his impact resonates within the entire locker room.
When discussing what makes Coach Williams a great mentor, Herget replied, “He is one of the smartest basketball minds I’ve ever been around in my entire life. I think that the way he sees the floor as not only from a coach’s perspective, but a player’s perspective as well is second to none. … It’s definitely helped me and my learning process of basketball because [basketball] isn’t all about skill, it’s … about learning how you and your teammates play in a certain situation.” The ability to communicate with players in a way they understand is one which Coach Williams excels at. On top of that, his influence upon the team creates a positive atmosphere, which institutes a winning mentality and culture.
This sentiment is also sent forth by Josh Herget who has played for the Varsity team since Sophomore year. Josh serves as a mentor for the team and shares a bit of advice he has for his team with me, “Play and have fun. At the end of the day, it’s high school sports … Obviously, everybody wants to win, and it’s fun if you’re winning, but you have to get to the point where you are here to have fun… If you’re not playing to have fun, then you’re not playing to win. There’s no reason to be here [if that’s the case].”
That leadership mentality unveils what makes this team dangerous. When this team is playing with energy, positivity and having fun, their success becomes a constant. With the end of the season approaching and districts inching closer, Seckman High School looks prepared to make its impact and ultimately win the fight for success.
Growing up, Josh idolized the basketball legends like Lebron James and Michael Jordan, but the main mentor for him was his older brother Jake Herget. As Josh stated “I look up to my older brother more than anybody in the world. … He’s gone through so many of the same things I’ve gone through and he
came out doing just fine. ” Jake’s influence on Josh has opened the door for Josh to have that same impact on his teammates.
However, basketball hasn’t always been a joyous ride for Josh and he encapsulates this by saying “My sophomore year … we did not have a very good season and about halfway through, I just remember being so frustrated with not only myself, but my teammates. With everything. … Once I hit my junior year, I was more at peace … I try to spread the message to the underclassmen now to just have fun. Get out there and do what you can … and have fun. ”
The struggles he faced as an underclassmen on an unsuccessful team gave Josh the opportunity to experience growth into his junior and senior years, which has allowed him to be a senior leader this year. In college, Josh plans to attend a junior college and play baseball there while pursuing a degree in sports media. For now though, he is excited to lead this basketball team, and eventually the baseball team, in their fight for success.