Varsity boys’ basketball clinches last-minute victory; varsity girls win by 44

Girls’ Varsity Basketball

For 12 years the girls’ varsity team has struggled to find their way to the playoffs. But this year, they’re optimistic.

“I think that we have a great team in the making,” new coach Matt Vargo said.

The girls won their first game, 60-16, against Freedom Christian, Nov. 26.

Starters were freshmen Saachi Sikaria and Julia Owaidat, sophomore Isabella Tochterman, junior Alexa Griggs and senior Mary-Clare Bosco.

But Owaidat doesn’t think the Freedom Christian game predicts how they will play in the future.

“I think how we do in the (Saturday, Dec. 1) Redding tournament will reflect the rest of the season for us,” Owaidat said.

Ten girls are on the team, and all of them  have competitive basketball experience.

“I think the team has potential to excel in our league,” Bosco, a four-year player, said.

Vargo, who replaced Alisha Harris, has coached both boys’ and girls’ basketball from lower school through high-school levels.

Boys’ basketball coaches David Ancrum and Gary Brisco are assisting him.

Brisco was recommended by Ancrum several years ago, Vargo said.

Since then, he has been the sixth-grade boys’ basketball coach for two years and helped with the boys’ varsity last season.

The girls’ next game is on Thursday, Dec. 6, at New Life Christian School in Olivehurst.

Boys’ Varsity Basketball

Senior Donald Huchinson shoots the game winning 3-pointer with six seconds to go, making the score 45-44. (Photo by Will Wright)

After a rough preseason game against Cristo Rey, the boys’ varsity pulled out a big win over Freedom Christian on Nov. 27.

The Cavs ended the first half down 14-30 but refused to give up and rallied throughout the second half.

Several blocks from senior point guard Donald Hutchinson and better passing throughout the fourth closed the gap between the teams.

After a buzzer beater 3-pointer by Hutchinson, the Cavs won the game, 45-44.

Coach David Ancrum was especially pleased with the performance.

“At first I thought they were a little afraid, but once they started to compete, the rest took care of itself,” Ancrum said.

The victory came as much-needed relief, as the boys had suffered a poor performance only a week before, when they lost their opening game against Cristo Rey, 82-11.

The team was missing two starters—junior center Patrick Talamantes and freshman point guard Serajh Esmail.

“It was our first game and a lot of the team had only been to a couple practices,” senior shooting guard Brandon Mysicka said.

“We have an athletic team, but we need some ball skill.”

Hutchinson feels the same way. “We just had a rough start,” he said.

Ancrum viewed the loss as a learning experience.

“We have guys playing a bunch of new positions,” Ancrum said.

The Cavs also took a hit with the loss of last year’s lead scorer Morgan Bennett-Smith, who recently joined the Sacramento United Soccer Club.

“We have a very demanding practice schedule,” Bennett-Smith said. “It’s disappointing that I won’t be able to attend every game.”

However, Bennett-Smith said he might play on Friday nights, when the soccer team doesn’t practice.

The team has four returning seniors and six new freshmen.

The Cavs competed in a tournament at Redding Christian High School last weekend. Scores were not available at press time.

The boys will tip off against New Life on Thursday, Dec 6.

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