The Echoes

Filed under Sports

A Breakout Year

McCracken first year starting varsity is having major impact

Connor+McCracken+%2811%29+drives+around+Chadron%27s+McCoy+Bila+in+the+Cat%27s+85-49+win+over+the+Cardinals+on+Dec+15.+The+Bearcats+will+play+North+Platte+tonight+in+the+first+of+three+home+games+in+the+East-West+Shootout.
Connor McCracken (11) drives around Chadron's McCoy Bila in the Cat's 85-49 win over the Cardinals on Dec 15. The Bearcats will play North Platte tonight in the first of three home games in the East-West Shootout.

Connor McCracken (11) drives around Chadron's McCoy Bila in the Cat's 85-49 win over the Cardinals on Dec 15. The Bearcats will play North Platte tonight in the first of three home games in the East-West Shootout.

Gordon Rock

Gordon Rock

Connor McCracken (11) drives around Chadron's McCoy Bila in the Cat's 85-49 win over the Cardinals on Dec 15. The Bearcats will play North Platte tonight in the first of three home games in the East-West Shootout.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Junior Conner McCracken is not fond of sitting which made the first two years of his high school basketball career, “frustrating.”

He received minimal playing time watching from the bench as the Cats made it to the state championship game both years.

Those days of sitting, however, are done as McCracken has established himself as a key player on the team’s 13-7 season as the Bearcats are attempting to make a ninth consecutive trip to the state tournament in March.

Becoming a starter for the team was not easy for him.

“It was frustrating for me a bit early on but I realized that I needed to get better at some things and I really focused on those things in the offseason,” McCracken said.

Conner stopped playing multiple sports to focus on basketball. Football and baseball are just a couple of examples. He takes the time during the offseason to improve his basketball skills and to get stronger.

“In the offseason I go to the YMCA before or after school and shoot hoops and lift four to five times a week and I lift everyday in the summer,” McCracken said.

After losing multiple seniors last year, the team had their work cut out for them. But after watching the leadership from those players, McCracken  knew what he had to do to set a good example for the team.

“One of the things we needed to work on was playing as a team. Our offense has always been pretty good but our defense needs to get better. Also good ball movement and everybody getting stronger are some things we can always improve on,” McCracken said.

This year, the upperclassmen have really made an effort to unify the team, instead of relying on multiple individual players.

The team altogether has made progress on defense this year. A problem they were having was that they weren’t rebounding enough defensively and giving the other teams more scoring opportunities. One of the toughest teams the Bearcats have played this year is Sterling, Colorado.

“They were really tall and they were patient on offense. They just went out there and played fundamental basketball and we just weren’t expecting that,” McCracken said.

Overall, the main goal this year is to make the state tournament in Lincoln this March.

McCracken started playing basketball at Community Christian School on a traveling team.

“I had coaches at CCS that really cared about my skill development. They taught me things I have used throughout high school basketball and in my daily life,” McCracken said.

Throughout his life, Conner’s family has been very supportive of him not just in basketball, but in everything he’s been involved in.

“Ever since I was little, my parents and grandparents have always gone to my games, concerts, and performances. There are very few games that they have ever missed. I went to Vegas and Anaheim to play and they traveled with me,” McCracken said.

Aside from his family’s support, McCracken finds strength from his Christian faith and in Jesus Christ.

“I am a born again believer and follower of Jesus Christ and have accepted him into my heart. My family sets a great example for me and my brother,” McCracken said.

Aside from basketball, McCracken long jumps and high jumps in track. He qualified for the NSAA State Championship meet in Omaha with a high jump of 6’3” at districts. He got 13th at state with a jump of 6’0”, but his personal best is 6’4” last year at GNAC in Scottsbluff.

“Track is one of my favorite sports because multiple individual events come together to score points as one team. There isn’t any other sport like it,” McCracken said.

This year his goal is to break the school record of 6’6” in high jump and then place at the state track meet.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
The student news site of Scottsbluff High School
A Breakout Year