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The Fountain Hills High School boys basketball team got off to a running start this season playing not only their home opener this past week, but also taking part a holiday tournament.

The Falcons’ first game of the season was on Nov. 26 against Scottsdale Christian Academy. The Eagles narrowly beat out the Falcons, 76-68.

Then, on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, Fountain Hills competed in the Valley Christian Thanksgiving Tournament.

The Falcons’ first game in the tournament on Nov. 29 was against Valley Christian. FHHS lost 57-52. Their next game that day was against Wickenburg, with FHHS earning a win at 67-38.

Finally Fountain Hills played two games on Nov. 30. The first game was against Mohave and the Falcons won 49-42. The second game was against American Leadership Gilbert, where the Falcons again won at 59-32.

This week the Falcons have two games on the road. The first was on Monday, Dec. 2, against St. John Paul II Catholic. The second showdown is this Friday, Dec. 6, away against Show Low starting at 7 p.m.

Head coach Jeff Bonner said he starts the season with an early Thanksgiving tournament for his team because it’s a good way to see what the group still needs to work on.

“We like doing the early tournament because it helps us get the kinks out,” Bonner explained. “It shows us what we need to build on when we are under pressure. You can only simulate game speed with real game speed sometimes and I think the guys got a taste of that.”

The initial shock of actual game speed might have affected the team in its first two games, which they dropped.

“Like coaches say sometimes, you gain things off of losses and I think the guys had a sense that they didn’t play even close to their true potential,” Bonner said. “We didn’t play our game and let them rattle us. Moving forward into the next three games, you could see them trying to gain their identity.”

Bonner said that his team got progressively better with each game as players settled in and communicated with each other on the court.

That is the message that Bonner wants to drive home to his team this season, that they are stronger together than individually.

“We need everyone. We need every piece we have because that is our strength,” Bonner said. “Our guys all playing their roles on the team is the greatest advantage we have.”