The high school basketball season is coming down to the most exciting time of the year. The high school district games were played this past week.

It is now time for the teams to prove themselves as they proceed through the next steps of state play. Those teams will put out great efforts during those games. Because they have reached the level of one and done, every play becomes important.

Basketball is a long season that runs from late November to March and allows time for the teams to go through highs and lows. It is key for the coaches to prepare their teams to peak at the end of the year. Coaches have to learn that they cannot run their players into the ground early and expect them to be fresh and ready at the end of the season.

This is particularly true for high school players who also play AAU ball during the offseason. AAU players at the high school level play five to eight games during any given weekend. It is just as important for a high school coach to push their team in practice as it is to give the players adequate time to rest their legs and re-energize.

The last three or four years I have had the opportunity to cover high school girls and boys basketball games on the radio during the last three weeks of February and the state tournament games. It has allowed me to visit with the coaches and athletic administrators before and after the games. A consistency with all of them is the importance of their teams to peak mentally and physically at the right time.

Basketball seasons are never remembered for games won in December, but always for games won in February and March. By this time of year a team’s culture has been established, which enables easier communication between players and coach.

The coaches have a certain confidence with each player and know the most effective way to use that player in a team setting. The players accept their team roles and are willing to sacrifice for the success of the team.

Postseason teams have a high level of trust between the players and coaches. They all feel a sense of responsibility to the total program. They have focused on common goals throughout the entire season with an eye on the prize. Any selfish players centered on individual statistics are already out of the picture.

The teams that will advance for the remainder of the season will be teams with players who know their roles and are willing to put it all on the line to keep moving up in the bracket. All the teams start their season with a vision. They have acquired great work habits and without question will generate excitement for their fans and their schools.

As a high school basketball player, this is the time when it all comes about. The coaches and players will remember a final four appearance at the Missouri state basketball tournament for the rest of their lives.

Good luck to the teams. Fans, please get out and attend the playoff games. It will not disappoint.

• The quote of the week comes from Hall of Fame basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.”

– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at