Sophomore guard Darren Loo dribbles the ball past Eagles defenders on Feb. 13. Photo by Ciara Kosai
Behind a stingy defense led by sophomore center Ian Lawrence and explosive offense led by sophomore captain and guard Andrew Ren, the Cardinals toppled the Burton Pumas 42–30 on Feb. 17.
Coming off a strong win against the Marshall Phoenix, the JV boys’ basketball team knew they had to come away with a win if they wanted to keep their playoff hopes alive. “Our game plan is to be really good on defense.” head coach Timothy Won said during the pregame. “We like to slow the game down, get some good shots, and of course not turn the ball over.”
The game started off with Lawrence winning the tip off. The Cardinals’ defense forced the Pumas to turn the ball over and miss multiple shots. However, they were matched by Burton’s similar defense, closing out the opening quarter up 8–6.
Though the Puma offense began the second quarter on a six-point run, the tide shifted after a block by Lawrence. The Cardinals momentarily tied the game at 12 points a piece after two tough, acrobatic drives by Ren. In the final moments of the quarter, the Cardinals fell behind, going into the second half down 20–17.
Sophomore guard Andrew Ren passes the ball against the Balboa Buccaneers on Jan. 13. Photo by Esther Posillico
Coming out of the break, the Cardinals solidified their defense against the Pumas. Although the Pumas started the quarter strong, Lawrence responded by swatting a couple of Burton’s shot attempts and sophomore guard Jesus Thomas Reyes knocked down a timely three-pointer. On both ends of the court, Lawrence and sophomore forward William Kats picked rebounds to give Lowell second chances on missed shots while taking them away from the Pumas. The Cardinals went into the fourth quarter up 29–25.
In the final quarter, the Cardinals forced the Pumas to take tough shots and turn the ball over, holding them to a mere five points. On the offensive side of the court, Ren continued to pull off acrobatic layups and executed a crowd energizing and-one basket. “I came into this game thinking about what coach Jason tells me: Go into the game and don’t think that anybody can guard you,” Ren said.
Sophomore center Ian Lawrence looks for a teammate against the Balboa Buccaneers on Jan. 13. Photo by Esther Posillico
In order to make it to the playoffs, the Cardinals had to take down the Lincoln Mustangs in its final game of the regular season. Though they gave their best effort, they were edged out 59–55 on Feb. 21. The Cardinals may have lost the game but had a successful season of growth. “At the start of each season, the players are all individuals,” Won said after the game against the Mustangs. “The challenge is to mix, match and mold the players into one unit. Something as simple as running an offensive play requires each player to know their role.”
“The challenge is to mix, match and mold the players into one unit.”
In his second season of coaching the JV boys’ basketball team, Won made it a point to build a solid foundation for the team to build off of. “The expectation is that the returning players return energized by the success of this year and challenge themselves and each other to continue to improve,” Won said. Although the team did not make the playoffs this season, they will come back next season playing harder and smarter to ensure that they make the playoffs.