Varsity boys basketball team smashes Eastside College Prep 62-40 on senior night


Katelyn Zhao

Varsity boys basketball seniors Matthew Chen, Mike Sullivan, Abhi Namala, Gordon Chen, Rishi Cherukuri and KJ Williams pose for a group photo with their families and coaches.

by Ella Yee

The varsity boys basketball team coasted to a 62-40 victory over Eastside College Preparatory on Tuesday after their senior night ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

During the ceremony, varsity boys basketball coach Alfredo Alves invited each senior and their family to the gym floor and shared the seniors’ favorite memories and advice to younger teammates. Seniors Gordon Chen, Matthew Chen, Rishi Cherukuri, Abhi Namala, Mike Sullivan and KJ Williams each received bouquets and origami leis from other members of the team.

“When you make a mistake, welcome it,” Alves said, reading aloud Mike’s advice to his teammates. “Use the opportunity to learn [from the mistake] and fight for the next play.”

Eastside pulled ahead early on in the game, but co-captain and forward Abhi led the Eagles’ recovery, with the Panthers holding their last lead of the night at around five and half minutes into the first quarter. With a three-pointer from point and shooting guard Max Xing (11), Harker ended the quarter dominating 12-9.

In the second quarter, the Eagles continued to pull ahead. Point and shooting guard Michael Chang (11) and Max scored a combined total of four three-pointers through a half court offensive strategy that involved rotating the ball until it reached an open player. Meanwhile, Harker’s defense held Eastside to just four points, bringing the score to 36-13 by halftime.

Assistant varsity boys basketball coach Eric Lee walks with senior Gordon Chen and former teacher Jane Keller during the senior night ceremony. (Katelyn Zhao)

“In practices, we have been working on playing really hard, physical but clean defense and then cleaning up the glass when we rebound,” varsity boys basketball assistant coach Cutum Derecho said. “Those have definitely been the two main focuses of the season.”

In the second half of the game, the Panthers lifted their score with several three-pointers, but the Eagles managed to secure a clear victory regardless. KJ boosted Harker’s lead with three-pointers and jump shots, while Matthew hit multiple free throws, and Gordon made a jump shot, drawing out cheers from the crowd. Eastside scored the final points of the game, trailing Harker 62-40.

“It was very emotionally rewarding to see them playing on senior night, but it was very difficult to sit on the wrong side of the gym,” former Head of Upper School and former varsity boys basketball head coach Butch Keller said. “Tonight is a night that they’ll talk about the rest of their lives. It’s very special when your family’s with you, and there are people that you love in the stands, so I’m very happy for everybody involved.” 

The varsity boys basketball team holds a season record of 16-8 and will kick off CCS playoffs against Marina High School with a home game today at 7 p.m.