Vars boys’ basketball takes second in the league after one-point loss to Mission Bears

Senior forward Isaac Finestone runs a fast break against the Mission Bears on March 3 at the Kezar Stadium. Photo by Kenny Dzib

The varsity boys’ basketball team fell short of first with a 41–40 loss at the championship match against the Mission Bears on March 3.


In the first half, Lowell’s defense worked hard to keep Mission from scoring, with blocks from senior forward Isaac Finestone. During the second quarter, the Cardinals continued their defensive efforts, blocking three Mission shots during one possession. Lowell ended the second quarter in the lead, 18–12.

Vars boys’ head coach Robert Ray talks to the players during a timeout against the Bears. Photo by Kenny Dzib

The Cardinals started the second half ahead by six points and kept it up with the first points from senior center and forward Amaan Shaikh a minute into the quarter. Junior guard Kevin Fok quickly followed up with a fast break, and Shaikh scored again with a three-pointer. However, the Bears came back and went on a 9–0 scoring run. At the end of the third quarter, the Cardinals led 26–21.

Senior guard Max Hum dribbles the ball past half court against the Bears. Photo by Kelley Grade

Throughout the fourth quarter, Lowell was neck and neck with the Bears, gaining a lead and losing it again several times. Both teams went to the foul line many times, but the Bears had more free throw opportunities, with more than 10 points from free throws. In the final possession of the game, Finestone scored a three-pointer at the buzzer, but that wasn’t enough. The Cards lost the game 41–40.

Senior forward Isaac Finestone puts a shot up in the paint against the Bears. Photo by Kelley Grade

Despite the loss, the Cardinals were happy with how the game went. “We were expected to lose by 20-plus points, but we exceeded expectations and had the lead at one point in the fourth quarter, and ultimately lost by one.” junior guard Jonathan Lee said.

Junior guard Kevin Fok dribbles the ball against Bears. Photo by Kenny Dzib

The Cardinals went on to play in round one of the CIF California Regional Championships on March 8 against the Dublin Gaels but lost 72–54. They ended their regular season 12–2, with both loses against the Mission Bears.