'Effort belt' for 'hustle plays' motivates Sussex Hamilton ballers

There are no "plays off" for the Sussex Hamilton High School boys basketball team. 

"Any time someone gets a deflection or hand on the ball, they dive on the floor," said Jason Schneider, assistant coach, describing a "hustle play."

That's as good as a basket.

"We want to play hard," said Andy Cerroni, coach. "I mean, we want to give it effort, and certainly not be outworked by anyone and that's something that we've really changed in our program."

That's because the Chargers get charged up for "the effort belt."

"The belt's like, an iconic thing for Hamilton varsity basketball," said Drew Larson, senior.

The belt is only given out after a win to the player who made the "hustle plays" in a game. 

"Whoever wins it just has the bragging rights over everyone until the next person wins it," said Larson.

On a whiteboard in the Chargers' locker room, the coaches keep track of each and every "hustle play." They're aiming for at least 40 a game as a team. 

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"Just doing those little things," said Nolan Rieder, senior. "You know, collectively to show that you had a good game, or a couple of big plays to seal the deal will help you win that. It's pretty fun when you get it, for sure."

The effort belt was introduced by Assistant Coach Schneider about two years ago. He saw the team needed a boost, and he got the idea from a friend who saw what the University of Louisville did with their basketball team, with the Cardinals charting their effort plays.

"I happened to have a belt at home from a Halloween costume and so that was the idea -- is we'll chart the effort plays, and whoever has the most during the game, they'll get the belt and they carry the belt to the next game," said Schneider.

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While Schneider may have taken the belt from his son, who used to play with it, it's since stayed with the team because the players have bought into the effort belt.

And coaches? They can win it, too. 

"To have something in the back of your mind you know that you're really fighting after, or going to war every day to try to get, it definitely acts as a good tool to keep your head in the right spot throughout the year," said Rieder.

During one practice, FOX6 was able to see Larson win his first effort belt. 

"Just get all the boys around me, everyone just gets hyped up," said Larson. "It's a good feeling."

The reward for doing the little things has created a winning culture. 

"To see them really enjoy it, it's something that kind of takes their mind off of the difficult parts of the game," said Schneider. "It's cool to see the boys enjoy it, and have fun with it and it actually helps us win games, as well.

It's safe to say this effort belt will be sticking around for a while.