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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Boys basketball has underdog run during CIF

By Kaylee Chan | Editor in Chief

GAME TIME Senior Nathan Kan speeds past his defender during a fast break against the Valencia Vikings.

   On Feb. 14, the Gabrielino High School boys basketball team made history by playing in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA tournament, the farthest the team has reached in CIF since the 2015-2016 season. The team played against Valencia High School in a home game and lost, 55-86.

   Valencia took an early lead, and their defense prevented the Eagles from getting near the basket. In response, Gabrielino took shots from a distance, scoring three successful three-pointers. At the end of the first quarter, the score reached 13-25.

   Valencia continued to extend the gap, with Gabrielino continuing to make baskets as well but was unable to keep up with the rapid pace. In the end, Valencia amassed an over-thirty-point lead and took the victory.

   “I thought we had a good chance of competing in our last game, but the team was pretty tough,” said Coach John Carney. “Quite a bit could have gone differently.”

   Gabrielino won against Santa Barbara High School in an away game on Feb. 10, 62-59.

   The two kept a tied score for most of the first quarter. However, a free throw and last-second half-court shot by the Dons put Gabrielino at a disadvantage, ending the quarter at 9-13.

   The game continued to be neck-in-neck, with a score of 26-27 going into halftime.

   The start of the third quarter was rough for Gabrielino, with the other team getting ahead by eight.

   Not to be deterred, the Eagles fought back. Consecutive three-pointers by seniors Trent Shimazaki and Mike Otoguro tied the game at 49-49 in the fourth quarter, then further scoring brought the teams to 55-55.

   With less than two minutes left, junior Darius Eslava made a three-pointer that brought the Eagles to a lead, which was extended by three more points, all from free throws.

   The Dons made a basket at the two-second mark, but by that point, the game was secured. The Gabrielino boys basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals.

   The win against Santa Barbara was preceded by another tight victory on Feb. 8, in which boys basketball beat Quartz Hill High School in the first round of CIF, advancing to the next playoff round for the first time in over five years. They won 52-50.

   Going into the game, captain Otoguro noted that, in his opinion, the team had “about a 60/40 chance of winning.”

   “I’m kinda nervous, since [many of us] are seniors so it’s our last chance, but there’s a lot of talent this year,” said Otoguro.

   The team took an early lead in the first quarter at 17-9, with senior Jordan Hum scoring on three separate occasions.

   However, four consecutive baskets by Quartz Hill allowed them to not only catch up but take a slight lead. After a shot from Otoguro, the score was tied 25-25 at halftime.

   The third quarter was tough, with Quartz Hill gaining as much as a 12-point lead thanks to a long streak of layups and free throws from fouls.

   In the fourth quarter, the Eagles overcame the large deficit. With exactly 18.5 seconds left on the clock, Gabrielino was only one point behind the opposing team, 49-50.

   After a timeout, Eslava cut through Quartz Hill’s defense and cleanly scored the go-ahead basket.

   Quartz Hill gained the opportunity to catch up with free throws due to a foul, but unable to make both shots, Gabrielino took the win.

   “We were projected to lose both [the games against Santa Barbara and Quartz Hill],” said senior Trent Shimazaki. “Lowkey, we were just able to stay poised, and our chemistry and teamwork just allowed us to pull through.”

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