MILWAUKEE — After missing a season due to the pandemic and starting the year off with one of their best players injured, the future was uncertain for the Salam School boys basketball team.
"We didn't know what to expect from any of these guys, or what we were going to do," said Head Coach Abdallah Badwan.
Badwan said he saw the commitment and drive from the team early on in summer practices and built on that. Plus, he knew many of his players were already used to going up against the odds.
"[Their families] came from other countries, from overseas, they came here to just work, build their families and build themselves. So these kids, some of them learned basketball two, three years ago. For them to do this with no prior experience when they were younger, and limited resources, it says a lot," Badwan said.
The team ended up going 19-3 this season. One of the best ever seasons for the team led by seven seniors this year.
"We knew this is basically our last run and we gotta give everything we have to it," said senior captain Haseeb Hussaini.
Their record and mentality got them a spot in the regional playoffs. It was a win that would have been the first for the Salam School boys basketball team in the regional. Unfortunately, the team fell short on Friday night.
But the players said what they'll remember most about this season is the way the Milwaukee Muslim community has rallied behind them.
"It means a lot, seeing our community out here it gives us confidence, it lets us know our community is behind us. Either win or loose, it's just good to know that they're here," said senior captain Mohammad Sarsour.
The seniors hope this season inspires the younger players to take the team ever further next year.