How the young Cardinals flew to success in Battle of the Birds

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Originally published on January 20, 2016

Sophomore guard Jonathan Lee going for a layup in the Battle of the Birds game at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 at Kezar Pavillion. The JV boys’ basketball team dominated the Washington Eagles 52–18. Photo by Leonard Caoili

Battle of the Birds proved no competition for the promising young players on the JV boys’ basketball team.

At the end of the first, the Cardinals led 17–8.

Starting off the night right, the Cardinals crushed the Washington Eagles 52–18 in the game on Jan. 15, moving their league record up 2–0.

At the start of the game, the Cardinals established a quick lead by utilizing teamwork and defense — two vital areas head coach Jon Li has been emphasizing this season. Finishing out the last few minutes of the quarter, sophomore guard Jonathan Lee added four more points to the board. At the end of the first, the Cardinals led 17–8.

Sophomore guard Abhishek Khadka looking to score during the game. Photo by Leonard Caoili

Maintaining their momentum, sophomore guard Jared Wong picked up a free ball from the Eagles seconds into the second quarter. Not long after, sophomore forward Nigel Wilhelm scored the first point of the quarter off a free throw.

The Eagles only scored 3 points the entire quarter.

Later on in the quarter, sophomore forward Ryan Gauthier and sophomore guard Abhishek Khadka added to the board. Closing the first half, the boys stayed on top holding onto a strong 16-point lead.

Focused on building their lead, the boys played aggressive and continued to attack the basket coming into the second half. Even with the charge in offense, the players never let up on defense either. The Eagles only scored 3 points the entire quarter. Racking up points, the Cardinals monopolized the scoreboard 41–16 by the end of the third.

Sophomore forward Ryan Gauthier attempts a shot during the game. Photo by Kenny Dzib

Seeing the scoreboard climb was not the highlight of the game for the team. It was seeing some unexpected players get time on the court in the last quarter.

“Most memorable moments were seeing my third-string guys get in there.”

“Probably the most memorable moments were seeing my third-string guys get in there and everyone else on our bench just cheering for them, supporting them and each other,” Li said.

With the support from the sidelines, third-string players held their ground on the court. By communicating with one another, the team scored 13 points on the opponents. And in setting up nearly impenetrable defense, the Eagles only scored once off them in the final quarter, leading the young Cardinals to secure the win.

The team’s next match-up is on Jan. 21 against the Marshall Phoenix at 4 p.m. at home.

Sophomore guard Abhishek Khadka opening up and looking to pass to a teammate during the game. Photo by Kenny Dzib