Zane Pedersen, a sophomore from the California School for the Deaf, signed wildly with his hands and let out a grunt of frustration.
He had just been fouled for pushing freshman B.J. Askew to the ground (for the third time).
The rest of Pedersen’s team was equally aggressive, which ultimately cost them the game against the Cavs in the first round of regionals on Tuesday, March 11.
The Cavs beat the Eagles, 70-60.
According to coach Dave Ancrum, the Eagles were a lot more aggressive than the Cavs were used to.
Freshmen Rick Barros III, Jayce McCain and Askew were all roughed up.
Askew pulled his groin, Barros was bruised in several places, and McCain lost a contact.
“It was a bit hard to play but I had to get used to being a bit blind,” he said.
By the second quarter, the Cavs had six fouls, which gave the Eagles a bonus. However, the Cavs made far fewer fouls in the second half.
The Eagles got into foul trouble in the third quarter, eventually sending the Cavs into double bonus with over 10 fouls.
Nevertheless, they managed to pull within 2 points in the fourth quarter.
Initially, the Cavs were apprehensive about playing a deaf team.
“We thought about it too much, and not enough about actually playing well,” McCain said.
The Eagles called their plays by signing. They also couldn’t easily communicate with their coach. To get the players’ attention, the Eagles coach had to wave his arms in the air, and it took longer for his players to notice.
And while the Cavs’ fans cheered loudly, the Eagles’ fans clapped politely.
Askew led the Cavs with 19 points and one 3-pointer, followed by McCain with 18 points (two 3-pointers) and Barros with 17 points (one 3-pointer).
Had the Cavs been landing their free throws, they might have done even better; they missed 12 of 33.
Ancrum said that in addition to their free throws, the boys need to work on fast breaks and limiting their fouls before they face Paradise Adventist Academy at home on Saturday, March 18, at 8 p.m.