BY A.J. KURZMAN
As the game raced on, the Cooper City High Varsity Basketball Team executed their game plan to perfection. As the ball was laid in to the hoop, players and fans erupted in frenzy as ecstatic energy rang through the gymnasium. The combined teamwork, momentum, and individual talent showcased a wide variety of new skills. Finding something you’re passionate about may be a long and grueling endeavor, but for new CCHS seniors and cousins Davante Wiltshire and Isiah King it was easy: basketball.
The new stars on the CCHS basketball team have had a long history with the sport. Both Wiltshire and King started playing the game at a young age and almost immediately became hooked. However, for Wiltshire, success wasn’t always a smooth path. In fact, his determination to succeed actually stemmed from rejection. During his childhood Wiltshire remembers going to his local park to play with the older kids who would always pick him last; to them he wasn’t a worthy addition to their team.
“I used this as motivation. I’d go out and practice on my own to try and prove them wrong,” Wiltshire said.
Driven with desire to be the best and not to be picked last, Wiltshire perfected his skills and became a true point guard in all aspects of the position. He developed exceptional ball control and court vision, not only improving his skills but also making his teammates better.
King on the other hand did not discover his passion until the age of seven during a REC game. Down by two with the clock ticking, King found the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game. After draining the clutch, go ahead 3-pointer in the last seconds, Kind was mobbed by his teammates and overwhelmed by the realization of his love for the sport. Since then, he has developed as a dynamic two-way combo guard. King takes pride in his stout defense while he also possesses an unprecedented finishing skill on the offensive side of the ball.
“I love basketball because I was raised with it. I’ve been around it my whole life and it’s just an endless passion for me,” King said.
The two cousins were then united at Northeast High School, where they made it to the first round of districts as starters. When King moved into CCHS’ district to live with his dad, Wiltshire followed, determined to finish their high school careers together. Both of them are now starters and huge contributing factors for the Cooper City High Varsity team. Their skill and leadership were welcome on a team eager to find its identity for the upcoming season.
“I’m a player that is going to give 110% on both ends of the court and will never quit on this team,” King said.
Over the years, Cooper City basketball has had an abundance of talented players who suffered disappointing finishes. However with Wiltshire and King’s determination CCHS looks to end this trend. They both aim to get everyone involved to “create a brotherhood” for years to come.
“They bring our team to a more explosive standpoint and the spotlight on them, it opens up others on the team to make plays,” Junior Tyler Sheradsky said.
With this year’s new raw talent, expectations for the upcoming season are extremely high. Talk of a district championship and even possibly states are being thrown around. Both Wiltshire and King agree that there’s no reason that this team can’t win districts and maybe even go further.
“With the skill and heart this team has, I truly expect to go far,” King said.
In the future, neither cousin wants to stop playing basketball. Both are looking to continue their basketball careers on the next level; the sport has truly become a fundamental part of their lives.
“I’ve always wanted to play for Oregon, but as I get older I realize it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m playing college ball on a scholarship somewhere and making those who believe in me proud, it’ll all be worth it,” Wiltshire said.
Lead by Wiltshire and King, Cooper City looks to close out the season strong and hopefully build a lasting foundation for the seasons to come.