Throughout the 2017-18 high school sports season, we will name a weekly Sentinel Athlete of the Week every Monday night highlighting the on-field performances of some of the area’s best high school competitors.
This week’s athlete is Big Spring basketball player Peyton Bechtold. The senior guard was named MVP of Biglerville’s Canner Classic Tip-Off Tournament for the second year in a row on Saturday. He posted 19 points, six rebounds and six steals in the tournament to help Big Spring defeat Biglerville 50-35 in the championship.
In the opening round on Friday, Bechtold helped the Bulldogs down Littlestown 46-42 with a team-high 15 points, while finishing 5-of-17 from the field.
Q: How does it feel to start of the season with winning MVP at the Canner Classic Tip-Off Tournament for the second year in a row?
A: It’s an amazing feeling to say the least. Starting off my senior campaign strong, both as a team and individually, it’s a little hard to not have minor deja vu, as we started the year this way last season before dropping a few games we should have won and then finding ourselves in a hole we ultimately couldn’t get out of. All that being said, as captain and leader of this team, I’m just focused on keeping everyone in the locker room humble and making sure as a team we continue to grow so we don’t end with the same results as last year.
Q: The team is now 2-0 to start the season after that tournament. What’s clicking right now for everyone?
A: What’s clicking right now is the locker room and court chemistry. This is the most tight knit group I’ve been a part of in my four years of varsity basketball and just how comfortable we all are together. Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses both on and off the court has allowed us, even on a poor shooting night, be able to find a way win as a unit.
Q: How is the atmosphere in the locker room right now?
A: The atmosphere in the locker room as I said before is great. The team this year couldn’t be closer and the confidence and comfort we all have with each other has led to an incredible amount of positivity in the locker room. It would be naive of me to say we won’t have a rough patch somewhere in the season, but it’s my job as a captain to keep everyone positive and continually moving in the right direction towards our goals.
Q: You and the team are headed to Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center before Christmas to face James Buchanan. What are the feelings like leading up to that?
A: The feelings and emotions leading up to that game are a roller coaster to say the least. On one hand, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I truly couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of, and on the other hand, it’s important to keep the team grounded and understand at the end of the day it’s still a business trip for me and the guys and we have to go down there and take care of business. If we wanna reach our goals this year, no game can be dropped. Once the game is over I’ll be excited to soak in all that the Wells Fargo and Philly has to offer.
Q: Anything you’d really like to see or do in Philly while you’re there?
A: Personally, I’m excited to see the underground of Wells Fargo and get to see the behind the scenes stuff that usually only the players get to see. Besides that, I’m looking forward to having an authentic Philly cheese steak and seeing if it’s all It’s cracked up to be. (laughs)
Q: You get to watch the Sixers play, as well. Anyone you’re pumped to see play?
A: I’m super excited to see Joel Embiid. I’m not even a Sixers fan, but that guy is fun to watch. The way he engages the crowd and can be a little cocky at times, I’m excited to get to see him play in person.
Q: Do you have a favorite winter sport other than basketball?
A: Basketball is my life during the winter, but If I had to pick another sport it would be wrestling. Obviously I don’t wrestle, but going to the wrestling matches and getting to support my buddies on the team in the student section will forever be some of my greatest high school memories.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of basketball?
A: You know, I’ve always struggled to answer the hobbies question because if I’m not working on basketball or sports, I’m hanging out with my friends and family, so outside of basketball I’m always just surrounding myself with the people who I love most. Not sure if you can consider that a hobby, but I’ve never really picked one up.
Q: If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why?
A: Fun answer, I had always dreamed of being a professional basketball player. The stardom and money and amount of influence you have on the kids is all so enticing. I mean, who wouldn’t wanna be a pro athlete, but realistically, those weren’t the cards I was dealt. So, I’d have to say I’m excited to go to college and pursue a career in finance and someday follow in my dad’s footsteps in being a financial adviser and maybe tie basketball back into my life at some point down the road. Who knows? Maybe Coach Creek will need an assistant coach someday. (laughs)
Q: Who inspires you the most in life?
A: My mom definitely inspires me the most in my life. She’s been through so much and her ability to always be so happy and positive has been something really important. I’ve made sure to adopt that into my own life.
Q: Do you have a quote or saying that you live by?
A: I never really had a quote or anything I lived by until this year and I adopted two. The first one is, “Big time players make big time plays in big time games,” and that is something that I just try to remind myself every game I go out there. You know, lots of people can go out and drop 20 to 30 points against a team that’s not as good as you, but the best players and the ones that get remembered are the players who shined the brightest on the biggest stages, and that’s something I’m really striving for this year.
The second one is something my friends and I have been saying and that’s, “You’re only a senior once.” I feel like this one just sums up senior year for anyone and everyone in the way that no matter what it is, lay it all on the line because you may not get another chance and you don’t wanna finish high school with any regrets.