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Vars boys basketball scores another win against the Eagles, 45–42

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The crowd and the players watch as senior guard Kevin Fok shoots a free throw in the annual Battle of the Birds game against the Washington Eagles on Jan. 12. Photo by Ethan Lei

Conquering the Washington Eagles in the annual Battle of the Birds for the third consecutive year, the varsity boys basketball team defeated their rival 45–42 on Jan. 12 at Kezar Stadium.

Senior guard Abhishek Khadka searches for an opening. Photo by Ciara Kosai

The Cardinals started off the battle against the Eagles strong by winning the tip-off and with senior forward and guard Jonathan Lee’s two-pointer. Senior guard Peter Lee led the Cards with his two consecutive three-pointers within a minute interval. Keeping momentum on their side, senior guard Kevin Fok’s two-pointer and senior guard Abhishek Khadka’s three-pointer helped the team finish the first quarter with a 15–9 lead.

The Cardinals’ lead was threatened by the Eagles’ aggressive offense. The Eagles were slowly closing off the gap during the first half of the second quarter. Despite their numerous rebounds, the Cardinals were unable to prevent turnovers and the Eagles’ steals, ultimately losing the second quarter to the Eagles 26–20.

Senior forward and guard Jonathan Lee shoots for the hoop. Photo by Ciara Kosai

Entering into the third quarter, Khadka’s three-pointer and Fok’s consecutive two-pointers and three-pointers brought the Cardinals ahead, 32–30. The Cardinals regained its control of the field with constant passes and more strategic defensive formations. However, they were unable to maintain their lead and closed the third quarter falling behind the Eagles 39–36.

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Even with Lee’s single free throw in the beginning of the last quarter, the Cardinals struggled to close the gap. Khadka and Lee scored a three-pointer and a two-pointer, respectively. With 3:46 remaining on the clock, Fok, who had scored nine points, left the game with an injury. Then, Khadka, who had scored 11 points, paused the game with an injury but remained on court. The Cardinals strengthened their defense with a man-to-man strategy. Both birds were unable to score due to constant turnovers, relying on free throws to score. With 15 seconds left, Khadka’s three-pointer broke the tie and brought the Cardinals to a 45–42 win.

Senior center and forward Ryan Gauthier prepares for a free throw shot. Photo by Ethan Lei

The team knocked down the Balboa Buccaneers on Jan. 16 and beat the Academy Wolves on Jan. 18, 65–33 and 72–52, respectively. They currently stand in third place in the AAA league with three wins and one loss.

The Cardinals go against the Galileo Lions on Jan. 22, 5:30 p.m. at Lowell.

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Vars boys basketball scores another win against the Eagles, 45–42