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Belvidere North discovers leaders during pandemic

Winters, Effler guide young Blue Thunder team through complicated offseason
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 10:25 PM CST
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - With no games or championships, what is there to play for?

For Belvidere North basketball, players are finding other reasons to push them towards the opening tip-off.

“At first I was mad, but what can you do,” asked Aaron Winters.

What the Blue Thunder junior did was become a leader. Winters may not know when or if his team will take the floor this season, but he will definitely make sure North is ready.

“It’s pretty hard to stay positive, but you just come in here every day and work," Winters said. "You just come in every day for practice and keep each other up, keep the energy up and just play every day like it’s your last.”

After watching classmates lose their seasons in the spring, that sentiment is no more clear than to current seniors like Jake Effler.

“You’ve got to try and not think about that," said Effler. "You just have to try and keep working hard and just consider the possibility of us playing. It’s tough, but we have fun here and I enjoy coming here every day and working hard.”

With coaches unable to give instructions at these open gym sessions, head coach Todd Brannan is leaning on Winters and Effler to be North’s floor generals.

“Those guys have been tremendous and our whole group has been tremendous," said Brannan. "They just represent what everybody else is about in our program - just hardworking kids that just want a chance to play.”

With no timetable on a potential season, Winters says he is playing for one thing and that is Effler and the seniors.

“That’s really everybody’s motivation," said Winters. "You never know when it will be over because just like those seniors last year, they didn’t know that it was going to be their last time stepping out on the court.”

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