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Putnam’s Quest For Perfection Begins With Family

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — They say rarely do families grow under the same roof. For Putnam basketball eyeing to repeat as state champions and cap off a perfect season, it is the troubles they have overcome off the floor that has united them as their own family. It’s a pact that the Beavers have not broken thus paying major dividends both on the hardwood and in everyday life.

“Everybody has their struggles off the court, obviously. It’s always like that,” senior guard Dizel Wright said, “One thing about our team is that we all talk to each other, we all get along, we all talk about certain things, what’s going on at home, what’s going on at school. So we all just get along.”

“Well, that’s what we talk about everyday; being unselfish, team first,” coach William Shephard said, “Each practice is ‘team first on three, Putnam on six’. We just try to instill that everyday about the team concept and this is how we get it done.”

It can be frustrating for a person to not be able to vent their troubles and tension can arise. The faith and confidence the team holds with each other helps in alleviating the strain.

“We have to just put our differences aside. That’s what coach talked about. If we don’t come together then we can only take ourselves down if we’re not coming together instead of the other team,” said senior forward David Murrell, “We just put all our differences aside and we all come together and look what happened. We’re 21-0.”

It is always important to maintain those positive traits to benefit future generations. As an underclassman, like junior guard Jonathan Garcia, learning from Murrell and Wright has helped in defining him both as a player and a person.

“They laid down the foundation for what we’re doing. They showed me it’s not all about one person scoring. It’s about a team winning,” Garcia said, “I’m always there for my teammates and they know I got their back no matter what.”

The road to defending the title begins against Leominster on Tuesday. It is a path the Beavers have traveled before and are prepared to tackle again as one.

“That was Holyoke, now they have to play Putnam and if we come in and play Putnam basketball then this coaching staff is confident if these guys come in focused,” Shephard said.

“An undefeated season is a great accomplishment but it wasn’t our goal. Our goal is to repeat and defend our championship,” Garcia said.

Many refer to a successful family as a masterpiece. For this group of brothers, that masterpiece will not be complete until the word “champion” is again synonymous.

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