Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Boys basketball tips off new season with lofty goals

New season, new coach
Alyssa Huang
Finley Keeffe ’24 leads tip-off in Branson boys’ basketball preseason game.

After a loss in the second round of the Division II state playoffs in the 2022 basketball season, the Branson Bulls have leaped into the 2023 season.

“Last year after our loss, we felt empty,” said guard and Macalester College commit Joaquin Aguillon ‘24. “We knew we had more in the tank that wasn’t able to be shown because our season ended early. This year, that’s not happening.”

In the off-season, Branson hired Demetrius Roquemore as the new varsity head coach after Coach Stevie Johnson resigned to pursue other opportunities.

The players love his calm mentality, and Roquemore gained a reputation as a “player’s coach.” The team also kept assistant Mike Clagett on the bench. 

“Coach [Roquemore] has been great this year about instilling confidence in all of us and taking the time to learn and build to our strengths,” said Aguillon. 

The Bulls’ strengths aren’t that hard to spot, as they sport one of the best backcourts in Northern California, with Illinois-bound Jase Butler ‘24 and Semetri “TT” Carr, one of the top 2025 players in NorCal.

“Playing with TT is awesome. He’s such a great teammate and a great person to be around, making the game so much easier when playing with someone as good as him,” said Butler.

The two complement each other very well. Butler, a senior and 2022 Marin County Athletic League Player of the Year has been taking his game to new heights each year, due in large part to the off-season work he has put in. 

“I’ve been working a lot on my conditioning, and just being in great shape in general. It makes the games much easier,” said Butler. 

He knows they can’t take their foot off the gas at any point if they want to accomplish what they have dreamed of accomplishing. 

“You can expect for us to go out and play our hardest every time we play and just try to win as many games as possible while putting on a show for our fans,” said Butler.

 While the team is not lacking of talent, keeping the small school underdog mentality and playing with intensity will be key for a team that wants to achieve big goals. 

“We want to win an Open State title and be a National team, two things that Branson has never done before. We want to put our school on the map basketball-wise,” said Butler.

The story was updated on March 6, 2024, to more accurately reflect the change in coaching staff.

NJ Gray ’27 leaps to challenge an opponent’s shot during a Branson boys’ varsity basketball game. (Alyssa Huang)
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