By: Ana Ortiz
As the basketball season kicks off, the University of Tampa – Spartans left victorious 82 – 68 against Allen University. Beyond the score, the win reflects determination, skill, and teamwork. The game not only means a strong start for the team but also demonstrates the potential within the players and Coach Darner as he starts his first season with the University of Tampa.
From the start of the game, the Spartans showed aggressive plays, dominating the court. Every dribble, pass, and shot is an opportunity for success, reflecting the countless hours of dedication these players invest in perfecting their skills and teamwork.
One player standing out, Tyson Leitao, a junior power forward with a natural ability for the game, played an important role in the Spartans’ taking home the win. Leitao’s 7 – 8 free throw performance was ideal on the fouls attributed by Allen. Reflecting on the game, Leirao expressed the team’s collective efforts: “We ran hard and played hard; we still had some mistakes but didn’t let it hold us back.” This resilience demonstrated the team’s ability to overcome challenges and learn from their experiences.
Leitao’s contributions go beyond his free-throw skills, as he makes 17 points and nine boards in the game. His commitment to individual improvement and the team’s success expands on the hard work within the Spartans. “I look to provide for the team in the ways needed, whether that means some nights I need to rebound, some nights I need to score, and some nights I need to be more of a leader,” states Leitao.
For freshman Jaxon Toney, wearing number 25 and making his collegiate debut, the game against Allen began a promising journey. Toney’s four-point contribution showcased his potential. Expressing optimism, Toney shared his aspiration, stating, “We have a high probability of playing in the tournament in March. His enthusiasm mirrors the collective ambition of the team, highlighting a shared goal as the season progresses.
Toney gets inspiration from players like Leitao, acknowledging his passion and selfless approach to the game. “He’s working on himself not only for him but also for the team’s benefit.” This emphasis on teamwork and a collective mindset brings success to the Spartans’ future,“ He puts the team above himself,” states Toney.
The triumph against Allen University’s Yellow Jackets is more than just a win on the scoreboard; it symbolizes hard work, determination, and commitment to a shared vision. As the Spartans savor this victory, it becomes a stepping stone for the remainder of the season, fueling the player’s aspirations for success in individual performances and collective team achievements.