Meet the new members of Hayfield’s Varsity Boys Basketball Team

By Owen Kashawlic

By Owen Kashawlic

Jaslyn Truong and Kiara Repuyan

After winning Hayfield Secondary school’s first-ever basketball state championship in 2022, the Hayfield Varsity Boys Basketball team received heavy spotlight from the media. To make their championship win even more remarkable, the team had a perfect season, going undefeated at 32-0. Many students and faculty packed the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University with the color orange. Their win brought great pride to the Hayfield community and was one of the most memorable events that occurred in the 21-22 school year.

This year, many anticipate if Hayfield’s basketball team can go back-to-back and win the state championship again. With the senior players gone, such as important starter Braylen Wheeler and sixth man Markus Rouse, many wonders who are the new members that are going to be playing on the highly regarded basketball team.

So far, the Hayfield Varsity Boys Basketball team has only lost one game: to Jackson Reed by only five points. Many new members have been added to the starting five on the team and are helping the them to achieve its main goal, which is to “run it back” and win states.

Let’s meet the new members of this year’s Hayfield Varsity Basketball team!

Owen Pottenburgh

Coming all the way from Jacksonville, Florida, Junior Owen Pottenburgh is one of the new members of the team. In Florida, he attended the highly prestigious Stanton College Preparatory School.

“Hayfield is definitely less stressful than my old school,” Pottenburgh said.

Moving to Virginia from a family move, he expresses missing the people he knew back in Florida.

“It’s hard moving because you leave all your friends and teammates,” Pottenburgh said.

Coming onto the team, Owen had to adjust to playing with new teammates.

“My relationship with the team is good, I feel like I fit in pretty well,” Pottenburgh said.

Before coming to Hayfield, he knew about the great season the Hayfield Boys Varsity Basketball team had last year and how they won states.

“I definitely felt the pressure, especially from Florida. All my friends were like ‘oh you’re not going to make the team’, look where I’m at now,” he said.

One thing that is different from Florida, is the basketball culture. Back at Stanton Prep, there was little to no student hype at basketball games.

“My school was so focused on academics so not many people came to watch us play. When coming to Hayfield I noticed the hype squad immediately. I went from having just parents at my games to having a full-on student section,” he said.

Regarding the season, he is looking forward to how it goes.

“The season is going great. Although we lost one, we’re winning a lot and looking good for playoffs,” Pottenburgh said.

Owen Pottenburgh
By Owen Pottenburgh

John Awoke

Senior John Awoke is not new to Fairfax County, as he attended Annandale High School for both his freshman and sophomore year. However, in his junior year, he went to the National Christian Academy in Maryland.

Football was his first sport, and he didn’t start playing basketball until fifth or sixth grade.

“Football was my first sport, then soccer, and then I started playing basketball. I started playing basketball pretty late actually,” Awoke said.

It wasn’t awkward coming onto the team as a new member, as he already knew some of the boys.

“My relationship with the others is very good and they’re all welcoming. I already knew David and Greg. I was pretty close to Greg because we played on the same AAU team over the summer. I’ve also been playing against David and DJ since my Freshman year of high school, and we’ve all been playing Varsity since Freshman so we knew who each other were,” he said.

Similar to Pottenburgh, he also knew how good of a run the varsity team had last season.

“I knew how good they were and how they went undefeated and won states. There’s no better season than that. Knowing I was one of the new members, I definitely felt a little bit of pressure. If you lose a game or play badly, people are going to be like ‘oh he’s one of the reasons’,” Awoke said.

He has high hopes for this season as well.

“I want to win the district championship. Also the regional championship, and obviously the state championship because I’ve never won those,” he said.

At Hayfield, basketball is much more competitive than at his old school.

“We have so many good people and everybody wants to play, so you fight for minutes. I like that it’s more competitive here because I believe that’s how you get better,” Awoke said.

Despite all that though, he still misses the people he left back in Maryland.

“I miss my teammates and coaches from my old school. I still keep in touch with them. But I definitely like this school more though,” he said.

John Awoke
By Owen Kashawlic

Jahleel Jackson

Junior Jahleel Jackson is one of the two new members who transferred to Hayfield specifically for basketball. He transferred from Potomac High School in Mclean, Virginia.

“There’s lots of different reasons why I transferred, there’s just better opportunities over here in terms of basketball,” Jackson said.

The process to transfer to Hayfield was simple. Jackson also expresses that he doesn’t regret coming to Hayfield despite leaving his old friends behind.

“I don’t really have to miss my old friends. I still talk to them sometimes. Your real friends you’re always going to talk to so I wasn’t really worried about losing friends or relationships,” he said.

Compared to his old school, Hayfield is also very different.

“It’s a lot more competitive over here. My last school was a private school so they had better facilities and things, but I would say there’s a better environment for getting better over here because of the competition. One thing I do notice is there is a lot of pride here, and I appreciate that,” Jackson said.

He appreciates the opportunities that Hayfield provides in terms of basketball.

“That’s what I came here for, to get better and get more exposure. If you want that opportunity then this is the right place to be,” he said.

To face the pressures of running back a great season, Jackson expressed that his main focus is to stay humble.

“We’re not perfect and we still gotta get better if we want to win another state championship,” Jackson said. “We may look big, but everything is relative. From where I want to be and where I want to go, staying humble is the biggest thing.”

Jahleel Jackson
By Owen Kashawlic

Donnie Bass

Senior Donnie Bass is the other new member that transferred to Hayfield specifically for basketball. He is also not new to Fairfax County as he went to West Potomac High School.

“I wanted to get better opportunities and be seen by colleges playing at a good program with good basketball and a good group of guys and better competition,” Bass said.

He also describes the process of coming to Hayfield.

“It was kinda easy, but the mental piece wasn’t easy. It was difficult as far as learning the players, playing on a whole new team and a whole new district with whole new coaches,” he said.

Compared to Jahleel, leaving behind West Potomac was a struggle.

“It was very hard. I can still see them, but those are people I’ve been with since third or fourth grade. It was hard leaving my guys, but you gotta do what you gotta do,” Bass said.

Dealing with the pressure of repeating a great season with a whole new team, he is not bothered by it much.

“The pressure doesn’t bother me at all. It just comes with playing basketball. I remain my faith in God, knowing that I can always get better,” he said.

He also already knew members of the team before coming to Hayfield.

“My chemistry with the transfers is good because we all have something we can relate to. With the team, I already knew some of the guys. David and I play AAU and I’ve known Greg since fourth grade. Our chemistry became pretty good and came together easier than people may think,” Bass said.

Donnie came to Hayfield to further his basketball career.

“I’m trying to play basketball at the collegiate level and right now talking to a couple of division schools. I’m excited to see if I can help this team go back to back and win states,” he said.

By Owen Kashawlic

Now that Hayfield is at the mid-season for basketball, make sure to go support the Hayfield Boys Varsity basketball team!