JV girls’ basketball team holding its championship plaque after dominating the Washington Eagles 53–16 on Feb. 27. Photo by Shyla Duong
They set the table by going undefeated in the league and feasted on the Eagles. In a show of dominance on both ends of the court, the JV girls’ basketball team beat the Washington Eagles 53–16 on Feb. 27 to capture Lowell’s eleventh JV championship.
Scoring was led by co-captains sophomore guard and forward Alyson Lee who scored 12 points and sophomore forward Samantha Quach who scored 11. Lowell asserted their dominance early on in the game with every player on the roster contributing to an impenetrable defense. “I really feel like we just played our best game of the season,” head coach Christine Hosoda said after the game. “Not only did everyone play, but they all had a major impact on the game.”
“I really feel like we just played our best game of the season. Not only did everyone play, but they all had a major impact on the game.”
Going into the game, the Cardinal’s game plan was simple. Force the Washington offense to dribble left on their non-dominant hands, bump the cutter so that the Washington post players couldn’t get close to the basket, and to be aggressive on offense, taking time to scan the floor to make quick safe passes.
Lowell opened the game by winning the tip-off. After Lowell missed the first shot of the game, Quach stole the ball from the Washington ball handler at half court and raced to score an acrobatic layup. On the ensuing Washington possession, Quach stole the ball from another Washington ball handler, but this time scored on an and-one. In the first quarter, the Lowell offense consistently found the open shooter with fluid passing. The Lowell defense was as rigid as their offense, holding Washington scoreless for the opening five minutes of the game and three points throughout the entire quarter. This early show of dominance set the tone for the rest of the game and obliterated Washington’s morale. The Cards finished the quarter up 20–3.
The Cards continued to control the game in the second quarter. The Lowell defense jammed the Washington passing lanes and forced turnovers. Washington’s offense crumbled from the immense pressure applied by the Lowell defense, causing them to constantly turn the ball over on travelling calls. Freshman forwards Hannah Dedji and Winnie Qi rebounded well on both ends of the court, grabbing the Eagles’ missed shots and scoring on tough putbacks. Lowell was ahead 39–8 at the half, subduing the once explosive Washington offense to single digits.
Sophomore forward Samantha Quach scans the floor against the Eagles. Photo by Shyla Duong
Coming out of the half, Lowell continued to rotate through its entire bench and picked up right where it left off on defense. Because Lowell had Washington’s post players locked-down, the Eagles had to settle for rushed three-pointers on the rare possessions that Lowell didn’t force a turnover. After countless three pointer attempts, Washington finally sunk a three which proved to be the only points they scored in the quarter. The offense led by sophomore guards Samantha Hum and Alyson Lee continued to tire out the Washington defense with accurate passing and sharp shooting. “Our passers had the presence of mind to scan the floor before committing to a pass,” Hosoda said . The Cardinals finished the third quarter up 49–11.
In the final minutes of the game, there was little doubt that Lowell wouldn’t win. Nonetheless, the Cardinals’ immaculate defense continued throughout the final quarter, chasing after loose balls and stripped balls despite the large disparity in points.The defense continued to dismantle the Washington offense by forcing more turnovers. Hum lead scoring in the final quarter with four points and sharp passing. The final score was 53–16 in favor of the Cardinals, taking home their eleventh AAA title.
Sophomore guard Alicia Wong looks to pass the ball to a fellow Cardinal. Photo by Leonard Caoili
Lowell’s JV girl’s basketball team has been the lead contender to win the AAA title for many years, this season going undefeated in league play. However, before the season started, Lowell questioned their dominance during tryouts when only 11 new players showed up for tryouts, as opposed to the usual 30 to 40 students according to Hosoda. “Normally, if you don’t show up for tryouts, you don’t make the team,” Hosoda said. “But because we had so few players, we actually extended tryouts for a few weeks to accommodate players who did not come for the initial tryouts.”
The team started the season with a large gap in playing abilities. A preseason with physically and mentally gruelling practices improved rookies’ understanding of the game while sharpening their ball skills. Though many practices were spent going over fundamentals for the rookies, veterans stepped up and developed as leaders of the young team. Thanks to a challenging preseason schedule which featured matchups against Saint Ignatius and Moreau Catholic, the team made large strides in chemistry and was prepared to tackle the AAA league.
Freshman forward Winnie Qi goes up for a shot against the Eagles on Feb. 27. Photo by Tobi Kawanami
Though the team practiced six days a week, the catalyst to their chemistry was the time spent together off of the court. “They liked doing team bonding things,” Hosoda said. “They were willing to meet up after school. They were willing to go out to eat. They were willing to leave their circles of friends and bond as a team, which was a big sacrifice for them, but it was that sacrifice that developed the team chemistry.” The team bonding events known to players as “trust bonding” helped the team grow closer, allowing them to be their true selves around their teammates. Activities usually involved players leading their blindfolded partners to do things ranging from chucking paper at other partner groups to picking up certain amounts of change off the floor.
As the season progressed, the team’s chemistry on the court only improved and the team was able to function as a single mind. Early in the season, the players got matching breast cancer awareness socks that they wore during games. To match the team’s silliness, Hosoda gave her players socks that matched in the absurdity of the prints. According to co-captain and guard Alyson Lee, players had anchor prints, skunk prints, watermelon prints, and killer whale prints. Practices progressively got more intense and fun because the players were being silly and quickly learning about each other. “All the times with this team are fun.” co-captain and sophomore guard Alicia Wong said. ”This is a very good group of girls and we’ve grown so close together.”
Sophomore guard Alyson Lee running the fast break against the Eagles at the Battle of the Birds on Jan. 13. Photo by Tobi Kawanami
The Lowell girls’ basketball program looks to dominate the varsity level in the years to come. There are plenty of current sophomores who will make an impact on varsity and even more who are already lighting up the scoreboard for the varsity squad. The flow of players going into junior varsity, however, is unpredictable. In years past, the varsity squad has taken deft sophomores away from the JV squad. Nonetheless, if this season is any indication, Lowell can overcome any shortcoming in incoming talent by working hard to develop their skills to a championship level. Tell Ms Giles to be on the lookout for some more trophy cases because it looks like JV girls’ basketball will run the AAA.