Men’s Basketball falls in season finale against rivals Dublin

After bidding the four seniors on the song team and men’s basketball teams farewell, the Gaels beat the Wildcats 73-58 in DV’s final home game of the season on Feb. 7.

Prior to the start of the game at 7 p.m., the teams called forth each departing group member underneath a blue and white balloon arch sporting a silver “2019.”

Song team said goodbye to seniors Alyssa Chen, Connie Deng, Hannah Mauricio and Jessica Wang, each of them taking turns standing under the arch laden with flowers and surrounded by friends.

The basketball team then honored seniors Justin Masilang, Reece Tahira, Gian Pinzon, Kyle Zalatar, Jordan Wringler, Ethan Chung, Demonte Aleem, Abhijeet Sandhu and David Wong, each posing for a photo opportunity with family and their coach, Mike Hansen.

Hansen expressed his team’s strategy going into the game.

“[Dublin is] explosive, so I want to make sure we hang around early and don’t make too many mistakes. If we survive the first quarter, then it’s good for us,” Hansen said. “Our guard play is really solid so I expect them to not be able to press us.”

Dublin coach Tom Costello shared his game plan going up against the Wildcats.

“We’re going to have to defend really well because [the Wildcats] shoot really well,” Costell said. “We’re going to have to get that rebound.”

Ultimately, both coaches expressed their hope for victory.

“[I hope to] get through Senior Night and get a win,” Hansen said.

The players expressed optimism as they prepared to face off. Playful pre-game banter helped lighten the mood on the court.

“Try not to foul, Aba,” one of the boys joked.

Last year, the Wildcats lost to the Gaels by only two points, making this year’s rivalry game especially anticipated.

The Wildcats started with a slight advantage, with two three-pointers in the first quarter. In the last 43 seconds of the period, the home side began chanting “Defense!” as the Wildcats fended off the Gaels, concluding the first quarter 13-11.

The second quarter was heavy in fouls, with Dublin fouling less and scoring most of the points.

Dublin’s Anthony Roy then stunned the crowd with two three-pointers before bagging two successive two-pointers, swinging easily from the hoop.

The quarter ended with a tense half-court shot from the Wildcats, which bounced off the hoop moments after the buzzer signaled the start of halftime, much to the disapointment of the home crowd. Halftime began with the Wildcats one point behind the Gaels at 20-19.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the gap only widened as the game continued. After a brief halftime performance, Roy scored two more two-pointers, grabbing onto the hoop each time. Although DV’s Pinzon managed to score a three-pointer, the third quarter ended 48-38 with the Wildcats trailing.

Despite the point gap, the Wildcats finished the game strong, scoring one point followed by an impressive five three-pointers in succession. With 5:35 left on the clock, the gap between the teams narrowed to 52-47, with the Gaels in the lead.

However, the 16-point final quarter pull was not enough for the Wildcats to close the Gaels’ lead. Quick, successive baskets by Dublin brought the final score to 73-58, ending in a victory for the visitor side.

“[The season’s] been great,” Coach Hansen said, stating the team’s next goal would be to get to NCS playoffs.

The Wildcats didn’t seem too disheartened by their loss, least of all the team’s seniors.

“The outcome doesn’t really matter,” Zalatar said, about the game results. “I just wanted to have fun. That’s pretty much it.”