Strafford is carrying the success of a 10-1 football season over to the hardwood as many of the same faces that were keys in the fall are also the driving force behind the current 6-0 start the boys’ basketball team is off to.
Multi-sport athletes are just a fact of life for the Indians.
"On a school our level we have to have kids that play multiple sports," Strafford Athletic Director and head basketball coach Mike Wilson said. "You have so many kids that are specializing anymore that it hurts. I have 21 kids here (on the basketball team). In the fall I had 10 kids that didn't play football or run cross country. We don't have a lot of extra sports like soccer or wrestling, but the sports we do have over half my kids are playing more than one (sport)."
Where some coaches may worry about injuries to their stars while playing other sports, Wilson embraces it.
"They aren't going to be in this gym every day shooting baskets unless you make them. They are going to get tired of that," Wilson said. "So if they are playing something else they are competing and getting better which helps me in the long run."
The comfort level between Strafford players is evident on the court.
"Everyone knows what each other is thinking," junior Jacob Wade said. "We spent all summer playing football and basketball. Now it gets to game time and everyone knows what each other are thinking."
Wade is one of the key pieces to athletics in Strafford. He is the starting quarterback in the fall, a key cog on the hardwood and a multi-position talent in baseball.
The switch from football to basketball season has gone well as Wade has adjusted seamlessly. He played every minute in a 58-52 win over Marshfield last Saturday in his second game in as many days, scoring 26 points to go with 13 rebounds. There was no sign of fatigue for the Strafford star as his signature high energy play never lapsed.
"He was high energy the whole game. He is high energy all the time anyway. I would say he is borderline ADD," Wilson joked. "We have kids we have to tell speed up. We don't ever have to tell Jake to speed up. It is slow down, slow down."
On the basketball court, Wade gets to show off all of his athletic tools.
"He can play all over the floor," Wilson said. "He can handle the ball. He can shoot the ball outside the three-point line. He is very strong and very aggressive on the boards. He is as good a rebounder as I have ever coached."
The credit for basketball acumen can be attributed to his mother, Deanne (Shores) Treese, who played for Rogersville before suiting up at Evangel.
"She taught me how to rebound. She was really good. I learned a lot from her," Wade said.
Wade ultimately wants to be a collegiate football player, but he is having too much fun in basketball and on the baseball diamond to give either sport up. For now he is focused on leading his team back to the Final Four.