By SHIVAM SUDAME
Boys Varsity Basketball did not advance in the CIF playoffs after losing multiple games. On Thursday, the team had a chance to clinch a playoff berth by beating Woodbridge. In their two prior matches, UHS had dominated the proceedings, winning those matches by a combined 45 points.
This game, however, didn’t go as planned. It seemed as though the team would easily clinch their spot, as they held an 11 point lead heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Warriors clawed their way back into the game behind a flurry of threes from forward Mitchell Rausch, who went 6-9 from the three point line.
The Trojans seemed outmatched, and the Warriors outscored the Trojans 32-16 in the fourth quarter to pull off a huge upset.
This result meant that the Trojans and Warriors were tied in CIF standings. Consequently, a tiebreaker needed to be played to decide who got the third and final spot. However, Beckman, who had the same record as Woodbridge prior to the Warriors’ game, had pulled off a massive upset against Northwood, who would have won the league title had they won the game.
The Patriots overcame a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit to win the game 62-59, meaning that there was a three-way tie for that final CIF position. Matchups were decided by flipping a coin, and Woodbridge won the toss, meaning that the Trojans and Patriots would play in Woodbridge first, and the winner of that match would go on to play the Warriors to decide the final seedings.
The Trojans needed to defeat Beckman in order to have a chance at Woodbridge, but never got the chance, falling to Beckman 103-80. Beckman then played against the Warriors in the tiebreaker, but fell to another great performance from Rausch, who put up 23 points on 57% shooting.
The disappointing season for the Trojans ended roughly, but there is optimism for the future. Many of the varsity players were inexperienced juniors, which no doubt affected their performance this season. Next year, however, they will need to take more high-percentage shots.
Looking at the juniors who took more than 10 shots, the highest FG% was the 39% of Bryan Nguyen (Jr.). The team’s leading scorer, Alex Bray (Jr.), averaged 24.4 PPG, but did so on 34% shooting. The team’s third-highest scorer, Kevin Yahampath (Jr.), averaged a cool 13.5 PPG, but shot only 31% from the floor and missed 54 free throws, going 56% from the charity strike.
If the Trojans can improve their shooting, a CIF berth should be no problem next year.