January 16, 2019

Gunnarsson Bringing Energy, Upbeat Mentality As Hun Boys’ Hoops Aims to Get on Right Track

By Bill Alden

It hasn’t been easy for Liam Gunnarsson to get on the court this winter in his first season with the Hun School boys’ basketball team.

The junior transfer guard, who previously played for Glen Ridge High, was sidelined for the first 10 games of the season due to back and rib problems.

As Gunnarsson prepared for his return to action, practicing with his new teammates helped get him up to speed.

“With how deep we are and how talented we are, I see a lot of improvement in myself,” said the 6’1 Gunnarsson. “I work every day in practice to be able to perform with the best of the best.”

With Hun hosting Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Saturday and trailing 14-9 heading into the second quarter, Gunnarsson came on with the team’s second unit. The backups gave Hun momentum, going on a 12-2 run as the Raiders forged ahead 21-16 late in the second quarter before the starters returned.

“That is our job, we come in to give energy,” said Gunnarsson, who drained a jumper during the rally. “That energy and positive attitude results in us performing well as a team together.”

After hitting a three-pointer in the third quarter during another stint with the second five, Gunnarsson joined the starting unit with 3:33 left in regulation. He ended up making a key bucket to knot the contest at 51-51 game but Hun faltered down the stretch as Mercersburg pulled out a 55-54 win.

“I saw an opportunity, my teammates were swinging the ball,” said Gunnarsson, recalling his fourth quarter tally. “We played for each other and we played in the moment. That resulted in me getting a big shot. We fell a little short but we gave our best effort.”

Although Gunnarsson was disappointed by the outcome, he is relishing the opportunity to play at Hun.

“I love this school: it is fantastic, it is everything I was looking for,” said Gunnarsson, who ended up with seven points in the defeat as the Raiders dropped to 5-7.

“I am extremely happy to play here. My coach [Jon Stone] knows a lot of colleges and the more we win, the more colleges show up. That is the plan.”

Gunnarsson plans to be a spark for the Raiders down the stretch. “I believe if I go on the court and produce and bring my energy, that will result in the team playing extremely well,” said Gunnarsson.

With Hun having posted three straight losses in the wake of the setback to Mercersburg and hosting Life Center Academy on January 17 and West Nottingham Academy (Md.) on January 19, Gunnarsson believes that the squad needs to be unified to get on the winning track.

“Togetherness is the biggest thing; when you work together, you are unstoppable,” said Gunnarsson.

“We need to come together and really evaluate what we could have done better in the game, what we did well, and build on both on both of those things so we can become unstoppable. Regardless of the things that happen and the small mistakes, you always need to have your chin up because attitude is everything.”