A shot at Varsity

NPHS freshman plays most of his life and winds up playing in a varsity tournament

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A shot at Varsity

Freshman River Johnston warming up on the jump rope before practice Dec. 11th, 2019.

Freshman River Johnston warming up on the jump rope before practice Dec. 11th, 2019.

Anissa Hoffman

Freshman River Johnston warming up on the jump rope before practice Dec. 11th, 2019.

Anissa Hoffman

Anissa Hoffman

Freshman River Johnston warming up on the jump rope before practice Dec. 11th, 2019.

Anissa Hoffman, Staff Writer

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River Johnston has been running the floor since he was little, and now stepping into high school, he is getting a crack at varsity in his freshman year.  

It is not typical for freshman to make it into varsity their first year. The first year high schooler played a total of four quarters in three games at the Dawgs’ varsity basketball tournament in Scottsbluff from Dec. 5th to Dec. 7th. “It’s a great experience to play on varsity,” he said.

He started out playing everyday and going to every camp possible. “I worked a lot on basketball, played all summer, and I’ve been playing all my life,” said Johnston. 

Anissa Hoffman
Freshman River Johnston talks to sophomore Carson Uehling before practice Dec. 11th, 2019.

Johnston now practices with the varsity team, and he thinks the difference is evident. “It’s a lot different than practicing with freshman because it’s way more intense and competitive,” he said. 

Senior Finn Lucas thinks that Johnston is a good addition to the team. “He would definitely give us more depth coming off the bench, and having that extra guy, we could trust him,” said Lucas. 

Sometimes the varsity team gives Johnston a hard time, but he doesn’t take it seriously. “Even though it’s kind of a freshman thing, I don’t think they make fun,” said Johnston.  

Assistant Coach Jimmie Pack thinks that he could also do great things for them. “He has an incredible amount of poise for as young as he is, and he would have that experience down the road going into his senior year to help us,” Pack said.  “He could help us with the perimeter, and he gives us more depth.”

Even though he has played with varsity in a game and practices with varsity, he does not think he gets special treatment. “I think it’s the same all around for me. Everyone treats me the same and talks to me the same,” he said. 

Anissa Hoffman
Freshman River Johnston shooting some hoops with sophomore Carson Uehling before practice Dec. 11th, 2019.

Since moving into that higher level, his teammates on the freshman team also think that it is cool for him to be able to have this opportunity. “My teammates haven’t changed, and they think it is cool as well,” he said. 

Johnston’s name is still floating on both rosters, but he thinks it would be exciting if his name landed on varsity’s roster. “It’s crazy knowing that I could be playing varsity basketball by the end of the season.”

Before the Scottsbluff tournament he was apprehensive to play on varsity, and didn’t think he would fit in. Since playing in the tournament, he feels differently. “After the tournament I definitely feel like I fit in better with them, because I was nervous before,” he said. 

Since moving into that higher level, his teammates on the freshman team also think that it is cool for him to be able to have this opportunity. “My teammates haven’t changed, and they think it is cool as well,” he said. 

Johnston’s name is still floating on both rosters, but he thinks it would be exciting if his name landed on varsity’s roster. “It’s crazy knowing that I could be playing varsity basketball by the end of the season.”