The Wildcat Tribune

Men’s Basketball dominates Grizzlies and Wolves after loss to Spartans

Eric Chang and Ronit Kumar

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The rampaging Wildcats dropped yet another thriller home game to the De La Salle Spartans, losing that game by a score of 51-48 on Jan. 30, rallied to defend their home court against the California Grizzlies,convincingly defeating them 65-58 on Friday, Feb. 2, and trounced the San Ramon Valley Wolves at home by a score of 55-37 on Feb. 9 by outscoring their opponent 25-6 in the fourth quarter.


The Wildcats had stunned the Spartans at De La Salle earlier this season by winning that crucial EBAL rivalry game 63-57. However, they unfortunately stumbled at the end of their rematch on Jan. 30. The Wildcats were consistently trailing De La Salle but always stayed within a ten point margin. With about four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Wildcats’ junior point guard Justin Masilang drained in his jump shot to give DV their first lead in the game of 42-40. However, De La Salle point guard Thomas Gregorios steadily carried his team, consistently making layups and jump shots. In addition, with ten seconds left on the clock, the Wildcats only trailed by a score of 49-48 but Gregorios obtained possession of the ball. The Wildcats desperately fouled him to regain possession but only after Gregorios made his two free throws to give his team a three point lead. Unfortunately, DV senior shooting guard Elijah Laird missed the final three-pointer at the buzzer-beater, missing the opportunity to tie the game.


“We are struggling to find our shots during this stretch, we are struggling to get shots to fall in,” said star senior center Sohan Byrapureni, regarding the difficulties of the game.


Wildcats last faced the Grizzlies at an away game on Jan. 5, clinching a close win with a score of 49-47. The Wildcats had a big second quarter, scoring a game high of 23 points. The Wildcats then rallied 27 points in the second half, pulling through with the win. Once again, DV star Masilang controlled the game and consistently maintained DV’s close lead over the Grizzlies. He scored a team-high of seven points in the fourth quarter, overwhelming the Cal High defense to commit a series of fouls in the last minute of regulation. Both Laird and Masilang nailed their two free throws to give the Wildcats a 65-58 victory, which was a relatively large margin compared to recent games.


“We all battle each other in practice but are still brothers after we step off the court, so the tightness of the team contributes to our success. Everyone trusts each other and everyone plays for each other,” said Laird, about the success of the team.


The Wildcats dismantled the Wolves earlier this season when they defeated them in an away game by a score of 63-45. In addition, they claimed their superiority against the Wolves when they destroyed the SRV defense in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 25-6. The Wildcats immediately took an 11-3 lead in the first quarter as junior shooting guard Jordan Wirgler drained in a 3-pointer and a couple of players made free throws off of fouls. However, the Wolves managed to miraculously come back, leading 31-30 at the end of the third quarter. Wolves’ junior shooting guard Connor Murphy scored 5 points with a layup and 3-pointer while he also made many assists. The entire gymnasium was shocked to see the Wildcats blow the lead they maintained throughout the game. However, the Wildcats, led by Masilang who made a layup and couple of free throws, busted through the SRV defense as they scored 25 points in this quarter. The crowd wildly cheered when backup senior point guard Darin Chung swished a 3-pointer from downtown as it was his first appearance on court during the game. The Wildcats ended the game, convincingly defeating the Wolves 55-37.


“I think it comes down to our defense and offensive execution. And guys made plays which were needed,” said Coach Hansen.


With the regular season coming to an end, the dominant Wildcats will surely enter the 2018 NCS playoffs. With the enthusiasm and intelligence the Wildcats currently have, they have a good chance to make it very far in the playoffs.


“It depends where the league puts us in the tournament. Once we’re in, we can win against any team we play,” said Coach Hansen, regarding postseason goals.

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Men’s Basketball dominates Grizzlies and Wolves after loss to Spartans