Many teams have their own pre-game routine in the locker room. For example, some teams bond over food, have motivational talks, or crank to music to get pumped up for a game. While the boys’ varsity basketball team does all these pre-game activities, they also bring their own unique twist.

“We say a prayer in English and Arabic before every game,” said senior point guard Keith Myers Jr. “With six minutes left in warm ups we go back to the locker room to pray.”

“I’m a strong believer in God and without his blessings we won’t be able to be successful,” said senior Izzy Izzeldin. Izzeldin and junior teammate Elmi Salad recite an Arabic prayer together before each game, but Izzeldin and senior teammate Moe Hussein later urged everyone to pray together as a team, sparking what has become an integral tradition, which has been done in previous years.

Typically, Myers and senior Denzel Marshall lead the Christian prayer in English while Izzeldin leads the prayer in Arabic.

From Morocco to China to the United States, it’s fair to say that the boys’ basketball team is made up of a vast number of cultures, but when the boys step onto the court, they all become a family, “Our team is really close and we had no problem accepting all cultures and religions,” said Izzeldin. Hussein agrees with Izzeldin, mentioning he’s convinced that the prayers have influenced the team to come together as a family, “It keeps us closer as a team and it gets us hyped up before a big game.”

Sophomore and first year varsity player Cole Kniatt was surprised at the team’s routines but agrees with Hussein, “I feel like it brings us closer together because basketball is more of a team sport than [other sports].

Regardless of the score on the board, the Raiders’ basketball team is closer together than ever. “We’re a family. No matter what the score is at the end of the game, we’ll always stick together as a unit,” said Izzeldin.