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Varsity boys’ hoops end 8–6 with new coach and different schedule

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Originally published on March 19, 2015

Senior point guard and MVP Soren Carpenter drives to the basket in the Battle of the Birds on Jan. 16. Carpenter averaged 17.5 points per game this season under first-year head coach Carl Jacobs. Photo by Karina Huft

The varsity boys basketball team ended their season on Feb. 27 with a 8–6 record, earning fourth place in the the Academic Athletic Association in the Division 1 league under the reigns of first-year head coach Carl Jacobs.

Jacobs brought in a different style of play emphasizing goal-setting and high expectations for the players, motivating each individual to play as hard as they can. “You knew how it was from the beginning,” senior co-captain and forward Joe Fish said. “You’d have to play extremely hard. You’re going to play tough.”

Though some might find Jacobs’ technique difficult, overall, the players found improvement in their skills as a basketball player. “I have gotten so much better over the season and it’s thanks to him,” sophomore forward Isaac Finestone said. “As a team, it’s always hard to learn a new brand of basketball, but I think that our team handled the adversity very well.”

Alongside a new coach, the team also had to adjust to the division of the league’s teams. Few players believe that the division hurt the team. “I think the division change slightly hurt us because it allowed teams to adapt to our style of play and scout us and learn our plays,” senior guard Justin Sujishi said. “If we played each team once, I think we would have gone deeper in the playoffs.”

“As a team, it’s always hard to learn a new brand of basketball, but I think that our team handled the adversity very well.”

According to Fish, Lowell did not make the adjustments needed with the teams. “It was a disappointing season from a personal standpoint,” senior point guard Soren Carpenter said. “But I would not take one of those games back because together as a team we grew and had a blast each and every day.”

The Cardinals took this season head-on and came out a stronger set of players and team. “I think that the division system in the AAA helps us as a team even if it doesn’t always help our record,” Finestone said. “Nobody gets better when one team beats another by 80 points. We got to play Washington and Mission 2 times and got better both times we played them.”

Though the Cardinals faced their toughest competitors multiple times throughout the season, the team’s hardest opponent was themselves, according to junior guard Sherman Wong. “I believe we have a shot at every team in AAA but sometimes we underestimate ourselves.”

Ultimately, the Cardinals finished the season with heads held high as their greatest accomplishment was being able to come together and bond with one another through their challenges and successes, according to senior guard Joshua Yu. “This included integrating ourselves into Coach Carl’s new system and the fruit of our hard work.”

Most Valuable Player

Senior point guard Soren Carpenter is the MVP of this season. Though there was a strong consideration for junior center forward Caleb Hilladakis and senior power forward Antonio Hughes, the team relied on Carpenter the entire season. “Soren did a lot for us in terms of points and running our offense,” senior co-captain forward Joe Fish said. According to junior guard Sherman Wong, Carpenter was the main scorer and a huge threat for the opposing teams offensively and defensively. He averaged 17.5 points a game this season. Carpenter hopes to continue his basketball career in college. “I’ve learned the game of basketball at an even higher level,” Carpenter said. “And that will help me tremendously if I choose to take the opportunity and play in college.” Carpenter is considering playing at Sierra, Lewis and Clark, Skyline and University of California Merced.

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Varsity boys’ hoops end 8–6 with new coach and different schedule