On Feb. 18, the Clear Creek boys basketball team will try to send its six seniors out on a high note against Longmont Christian.
Because they don’t play any spring sports, seniors Jaylen McLemore and Christian Watts are hoping to finish the season and their high school athletic careers strong. They’d like to win their last three or four games, take the W on senior night and advance as far as possible in the playoffs.
“The young guys are trying to help and make it worthwhile for all of us (seniors),” Watts said.
McLemore said he took things too seriously in previous seasons, so now, he’s focusing on having fun and enjoying these last few games with his teammates, especially his fellow seniors.
McLemore and Watts, who play point guard and small forward, respectively, have been on varsity all four years. Coach Scott Haebe said he was proud of the players and the people they’ve become.
“They’ve been with me for four years, so they know what the expectations are,” Haebe said. “They’re solid and they bring stability to the program. They know their roles.”
Sophomore Colin Hendrickson described McLemore and Watts as highly skilled and hardworking. They’re always giving advice and setting a good example for the younger players, he said.
Hendrickson said the two have taught him and his fellow underclassmen not to beat themselves up, how to stay positive and to have a healthy mindset. But, the most important thing he learned from them was work ethic.
“You give it 110%, always,” he continued.
McLemore and Watts both felt that the future of Clear Creek’s basketball program is bright, thanks to young players like Hendrickson.
After heartbreaking losses, like the Jan. 31 one against Front Range Christian, they emphasized how important it is to set an example of mentally starting over.
“We can let the tough losses get to us, because it’ll impact the younger guys, too,” Watts said.
McLemore was proud of how much the team has improved, especially on offense, since the season started. He and Watts said it’s a matter of staying patient going into the fourth quarter, and not letting games get away from them.
The two credited their four fellow seniors for their leadership and hardwork, especially Jett Baker, who’s injured but provides a lot of energy on the bench.
McLemore and Watts were really excited for the playoffs, saying it always generates high-intensity games. They two recalled the 2019 win at Byers, describing it as one of the highlights of their basketball careers thus far.
“It always creates great memories,” Watts said of the playoffs.
He and McLemore are looking forward to creating more memories this postseason, hopefully happy ones. But first, they’ll have to tackle senior night and its trademark bittersweetness.
“I see senior night as a microcosm of life as a whole,” McLemore said. “It represents the end of our high school basketball career, (and) that we’re about to graduate.”