Eighth grader Jayce McCain takes a jump shot against a St. John the Evangelist defender in the league championship game on March 2. The Cavs won 46-35. (Photo by Elena Lipman)

Experienced eighth-grade basketball team bounds over competition

The eighth-grade boys’ basketball team is undefeated, winning all tournaments and games, even a scrimmage against the high-school varsity.Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 1.42.18 PM

Thus, athletes who plan to attend the high school should provide a big boost for the varsity team next year.

Eighth graders Cole Johnson, Jayce McCain, B.J. Askew and Reggie Fan all say they will return next year to play varsity.

Eighth grader Miles Edwards will also return, but it is unknown whether he will play on varsity or JV during his freshman year.

Johnson, McCain, Askew and Fan also play on teams outside of school in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).

The AAU is a multi-sport organization that promotes the development of sports programs.

Askew and McCain play for a team called 916 Select, ranked first in its division in Northern California. It also placed second in the Hype Sports Winter Jam 2014 tournament in Texas, playing against teams from all over the country.

And a 916 Select teammate of theirs, Rick Barros, also plans on attending SCDS next year to join them on varsity.

Fan said that playing on outside teams improves his game.

“You get more playing time and find yourself in more complicated situations during games,” Fan said.

McCain agrees.

“The games are faster and you have to think more,” McCain said.

Even though they balance several different basketball practices after school—sometimes every day—the athletes also spend their free time together, playing on the blacktop at lunch every day.

Coach Dave Ancrum said the team has worked really well together under pressure, even in their hardest game of the season in the Jesuit Junior Classic against St. John the Evangelist, whom they also played  in the league championship.

In the first game against St. John the Evangelist, Askew shot the winning basket at the buzzer.

“Everyone was going crazy,” he said.

The team asserted their dominance over St. John the Evangelist a second time in the league championship, beating them 46-35 on March 2.

“(St. John the Evangelist) is really tough, and they impose their will,” Ancrum said.

The boys are looking forward to playing against more competitive teams once they reach high school.

The team has also won the Holy Spirit/Sacred Heart, Jesuit and Christian Brothers tournaments.

In the league playoffs, they beat St. John Vianney, 55-25, in the first round, St. Roberts, 60-17, in the second round and St. John Notre Dame, 57-32, in the third round.

If the boys stay focused and continue to improve their game, Ancrum said that they could have a very successful high-school season.

They were 6-0 in league games.


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