Senior baseketball player excels on the court

By Mari Pothier |

Every game is a blessing for senior John Pietkiewicz of the Flagler men’s basketball team.

Even though the Saints have been struggling on the court, Pietkiewicz has been excelling. He was chosen as the Peach Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 6.

“You can’t take any practice or games for granted,” Pietkiewicz said. “I just try to look at every game just like I’m so blessed to be able to play and just go out and give it all I have for that individual game no matter what happened the last four or five games.”

Pietkiewicz also tied the school record for the most points scored in a game with 41 points against UNC Pembroke Feb. 5. The Saints lost the game in triple overtime. He said he did not realize his accomplishment until after the game when some of his teammates told him.

“That loss really hurt, not only the fact that I played well, that just it was three overtimes and we were right there and we had a chance to win in all the overtimes and just couldn’t pull it out,” Pietkiewicz said. “It was just really tough to swallow.”

Pietkiewicz credits his teammates for helping him be successful on the court saying he could not do it without them.

Head coach Bo Clark of the men’s basketball team said Pietkiewicz is an outstanding player, teammate and hard worker.

“He’s just a tremendous leader,” Clark said. “He’s very very positive, he’s a good role model for the younger players and for all the players and I think he just really leads by example. I don’t know if I’ve had another player in my 25 years that has worked on his outside shooting as much as John Pietkiewicz.”

This has shown in the success Pietkiewicz has had during his Flagler career. He believes his most successful season was his freshman year. The team won 20 games that season.

Pietkiewicz said he is sad his basketball career at Flagler is coming to an end this season, but is excited for the next chapter of his life. He wants to play professional basketball overseas and if that does not work out, he’d like to become a coach.

“I’ll still be around the game, because I love it so much,” he said.

Pietkiewicz still has a positive attitude regardless of the team’s recent losing streak.

“It hurts to be honest, it really hurts, but at the same time we have to realize that we’re blessed to even play and just keep fighting, keep working hard because we know a win is going to come,” he said.

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