STL Slimes maintain perfect record in J League
January 27, 2022
Peppered throughout classrooms are, on the surface, regular upperclassmen. Monday through Friday, they learn their trig functions, rhetorical devices and chemical formulas. But outside of school, they lace up for intense five-on-five basketball with the other hidden hoopers in the community.
The J League is an unaffiliated basketball league hosted at the Jewish Community Center. Because MSHSAA rules prohibit school-affiliated players from competing in other leagues, the J League is only composed of non-school players. Games are officiated by actual referees, managed, coached and attract crowds. Matches are played in two 20-minute halves.
The season has been underway for some time now, each team placed in a division defined by the age of the players. Varsity White and Varsity Blue are the high school junior and senior leagues, respectively. Topping the leaderboards for Varsity White are the STL Slimes, with a perfect record of four wins, zero losses.
“We’re doing way better than last year. We have better chemistry, we’ve dropped some players and we play a lot together outside of games,” junior and Slime Jack Reeves said. “They’re not formal practices but they’re practice. We build good connections with each other that translate onto the court.”
The Slimes are one of two Ladue teams in the Varsity White division. But there are, of course, more than just two teams competing. In the division are a total of nine teams coming from various schools in the area like MICDS, John Burroughs and Parkway West. Just recently, the Slimes faced off against the only other Ladue team in the division, the TuneSquad. Through a tough game Jan. 23, the Slimes maintained their perfect record.
“One of my highlights was scoring 11 points in the TuneSquad game,” junior Grant Minkler said. “Since they were our rivals I wanted to win a lot more, especially since we lost to them last year.”
Minkler cites winning the game as “the most memorable moment of this year” thus far because of the rivalry the Slimes have with the TuneSquad. But the win was not Minkler’s nor Reeves’ alone. Behind the Slimes’ players were the important supporting cast members.
“We have a Ladue varsity player as our coach: Jackson Freeman,” Reeves said. “He’s been giving us all equal minutes, which has been working well so far, and he has good basketball IQ. We also have good photographers and videographers in Alyssa Jackson and Molly Milton.”
Juniors Alyssa Jackson and Molly Milton both play the critical role of managing the team, making sure the players are okay and capturing the best moments on the court. Their work can be found on the Instagram account @stlslimesbball, where they post game highlights and scores. With the Slimes’ perfect record, there’s much to celebrate. And although there is no cash prize, no glamour, there’s certainly still reason to play: pride is on the line.
“We win,” Minkler said, “we get bragging rights.”