By SHIVAM SUDAME
Boys Varsity Basketball came out on top last Friday, January 6, in a thrilling game against Beckman, 80-72. On multiple occasions, the team fell behind by double-digits; they ended the first quarter down by nine. Beckman seemed to be in control, yet multiple collapses by the Patriots due to the Trojan full-court press allowed UHS to take back control of the game.
Half of the Trojans’ points came from forward Alex Bray (Jr.), who put up 24 of his 40 in the second half. Bray’s shot selection hurt him in the first quarter as he started the game 0-10 from the field, leading him to score only one point.
However, starting from the second quarter, he started driving into the lane and drawing fouls, which not only put University in the bonus, but also allowed him to heat up. He hit four three-pointers in the game, but the bulk of his points came from the charity strike, as he made 22 of his 27 attempts from the line.
Bray contributed the win to the team’s free-throw shooting.
“We made our free-throws down the stretch, and that really helped us win the game,” he said.
Although the stat-line may show Bray as the best player on the court, forward Ryan Pham (Sr.) was arguably the game-changing player on the team. He finished the game leading in rebounds and blocks, finishing with 18 points and 20 rebounds.
He currently leads the team in blocks and rebounds per game, is second in points per game, and is fifth in steals per game.
The full-court press worked largely due to his presence at the basket, as he stopped many of the Patriots’ two-on-one fast breaks with his shot blocking ability. Guard Mitchell Kauker (Sr.) also tacked on eight steals with the majority of them coming off of the full-court pressure.
The crowd also largely changed the course of play. It was UHS’s “Pack the Gym Night,” as hundreds of students showed up in blue to see their team win. Waving signs, hand gestures, and sheer noise threw off Beckman, forcing them to miss crucial shots and free-throws down the stretch.
The team now looks forward to their next game, a home game against Northwood next Tuesday, January 10.