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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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Junior varsity boys basketball suffers loss to Lynbrook

Alan Gao (10) drives past a Lynbrook defender after receiving a handoff from Caden Ruan (10). Alan led the Eagles in their offense against the Vikings. (Kairui Sun)

The junior varsity boys basketball team lost to Lynbrook 36-51 on Nov. 25 in Zhang Athletic Center.

The Eagles dropped behind early in the first quarter, losing the tipoff to the Vikings and falling behind 0-4. Oliver Chen (10) and David Li (10) both scored 2-pointers to tie the score at 4-4, but the Vikings pulled ahead to an 11-6 lead. Lynbrook continued to add to their score with consecutive 2-pointers, bringing the score to 15-6. 

The Harker offense struggled to break through the aggressive Lynbrook defense. The Eagles committed multiple turnovers as the Vikings implemented a defensive strategy where they pressured the Harker ball-handler as soon as the ball was inbounded. Oliver cited inconsistency in ball handling and passing as factors for explaining why the Vikings outscored the Eagles in the first quarter.

“The full court press is definitely something we need to work on that Lynbrook used against us,” Oliver said. “Our team is losing the ball too much when we’re getting pressed. We have to stay in control under pressure and stay calm.” 

The Eagles’ offensive shortcomings resulted in frequent turnovers. Frustrated with the Eagles’ lack of success in their plays, co-captain Caden Ruan (10) picked up two personal fouls after driving to the basket through heavy traffic. 

“In the first quarter, we had 10 turnovers alone,” Caden said. “As they say, a turnover is negative four points. You lose the opportunity to score two points, they get two points on their side. So the 10 turnovers we had dug ourselves into a 9-point hole. I got frustrated and tried to take shots that weren’t there.”

The Eagles found their offensive footing in the second quarter, matching the Vikings 12-12 in scoring. Shooting guard Jerry Ge (9) scored a 3-pointer to bring the total score up to 21-30 at halftime. 

Babila Mfonfu (9) snatches an offensive rebound away from Lynbrook defenders and eyes the basket for another attempt at a shot. The team looks to improve their season record at Piedmont Hills on Dec. 22. (Kairui Sun)

During halftime, junior varsity head coach Nicholas “Nick” Nguyen praised the boys’ offensive production in the second quarter. The Eagles’ frequent passes led to more open shots by Jerry and shooting guard Alan Gao (10), two of five different Eagles who contributed to the scoreboard in the second quarter.

“We’re doing a much better job getting guys open looks,” Nguyen said. “Jerry had an open 3-pointer towards the end there; Alan also had some good looks and made a three. Let’s keep running our offense, and the opportunities will come.”

Following halftime, Alan scored another 3-pointer and consecutive free throws to rally the Eagles to 26-38, but Lynbrook maintained their lead throughout the second half of the game. Lynbrook scored the last points of the game, bringing the final score to 36-51.

A big factor in Lynbrook’s victory was their efficient offense when compared to Harker’s. The Vikings utilized multiple screens to block Harker defenders, creating space for Lynbrook players to take shots. Nguyen urged the Eagles to stay close to their assigned player and defend in closer proximity.

“The team needs to be more physical, because basketball is essentially a physical sport,” Nguyen said. “They have to work on being more aggressive defending against opponents’ offenses. We only took two free throws. That says something about our effort and mindset when defending.”

In addition to identifying the team’s shortcomings, Nguyen commended the Eagles’ performance in communication. When Harker managed to have the ball, they called out plays loud enough for all five players to hear, allowing them to cooperate more effectively.

“They’re doing a good job communicating with each other,” Nguyen said. “That’s the one thing they’ve struggled the most throughout the season, but they did a really good job talking to each other today.”

To gain the most out of the team’s loss, the Eagles continued to reflect on their weaknesses to improve for future games. Caden delivered a three-minute speech after the game in the locker room addressing panicked decision-making.

“When you have the ball, you always have to be composed,” Caden said to his teammates. “You have to look around, you can’t put the ball on the floor immediately. Just take a moment to think, and you’ll make less turnovers and create more looks for the team. The wins will follow.”

Coach Nick Nguyen breaks down the Eagles’ performance after the game. Nguyen emphasized defense in his pre-game talk, and he reiterated the importance of physical presence when defending after the loss. (Kairui Sun)

The boys junior varsity basketball team sits at a season record of 1-4. They play Piedmont Hills next on Dec. 22.

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About the Contributors
Kairui Sun, Reporter
Kairui Sun (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is his second year on staff. This year, Kairui wishes to understand the Harker community better by writing a variety of articles. In his free time, he likes to play piano and volleyball.
Lily Shi, Reporter
Lily Shi (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Lily hopes to get to know the members of the journalism team and write many meaningful articles. In her free time, she likes to dance, read, and spend time with her friends.

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