The buzzer sounds and applause fills the field house. The Raiders had just defeated the Wylie Bulldogs 61-55. The players retreat to the locker room as the stands empty.
For many, it’s time to celebrate. For No. 15 , it’s time to head home. He has a quiz tomorrow in his AP Calculus class.
Senior Carson Sager plays shooting guard for the varsity basketball team, but he’s been on the court since kindergarten. Basketball runs in the family; his dad played for Utah State and Midwestern State, and his older brother, Christien, played for Oklahoma State.
“I was just inspired by that,” he said, “But then, once I got into playing myself, I just fell in love with it, and that’s why I’m still playing now.”
Outside of basketball, Sager is a class officer and is part of the Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALS) program. He’s a stellar student, as well. This year, he’s enrolled in five Advanced Placement (AP) classes and is currently ranked at the top of his class.
So from taking on a heavy course load, to playing basketball after school, to maintaining high grades and traveling to away games frequently during the spring semester, how does he do it? It’s a hard act to balance at times.
“Sometimes I think about ‘what if I didn’t do both (rigorous classes and varsity basketball),’ but I get over it because I love both, so why not just do both?” Sager said.
Boys varsity basketball coach Cliff McGuire can attest that Sager’s work ethic is what enables his success on and off the court.
“His sophomore year, we thought he was going to be a JV kid,” he said. “But with the work he put it and the amount of time he put in playing basketball…he really grew as a player to what he is now.”
Sager encourages underclassmen to embrace the opportunity to pursue both sports and academics thoroughly in high school, as intimidating as it may seem.
“Push through it. We’re young. Live to the most…because we’re not always going to be able to do both,” he said.
After graduation, Sager plans to study electrical engineering, but he hopes to keep basketball as a part of his life. For him, playing in college is “the dream,” and he’s ready to face the new set of challenges that this next stage of life will bring him.
“God gave me these abilities to do what I want to do, and I’m going to use those abilities in the best way that I can,” he said. “That’s my motivation. Faith.”