The SCDS fans packed the bleacher and extra chairs, filled the risers behind the bench and swarmed around each of the four gym entrances. Many even left the school auction early to cheer on the boys.
Decked out in blue, Paradise Adventist fans made the drive from Paradise and easily filled their side of the gym.
SCDS fans worked their lungs hard to keep up with the Paradise Adventist supporters, who cheered, clapped and stomped their feet as if they were the home team.
As Paradise Adventist fans chanted “Defense!” Country Day fans countered with “Offense!”
The energy of the fans shifted all night long, but at the end of the back-and-forth cheering match, the Paradise Adventist fans were rewarded with a win as the Cavs lost to the Cougars, 48-53, on March 14.
Going into this game, head coach Dave Ancrum knew the boys’ varsity basketball team had to take care of the Paradise Adventist big guys in the second round of regional play.
At 6’7”, 6’3” and 6’1”, the Cougars’ big men dominated the game on both ends of the court.
Paradise Adventist’s Justin Stevens, Peter Sayegh and Brandon Dudar muscled their way into the paint and combined for 31 points.
Even if they missed the first shot, the Cougars grabbed offensive rebounds to fight for the second one.
“We kind of let them get loose a little bit,” Ancrum said.
“(They) were getting every second shot.”
Aside from scoring, the Cougars executed on defense: they held the Cavs to only four points in the first quarter.
Additionally, the Cavs missed all of their nine free-throw attempts in the first eight minutes of play.
“The first quarter was really our downfall,” senior Skovran Cunningham said. “We didn’t come out strong enough, and they took advantage of it.”
Down 21-30 at the half, Ancrum said he told the boys that the outcome of the game depended on how badly they wanted the victory.
“They weren’t playing very hard, I thought,” he said.
Some SCDS fans felt similarly.
“How bad do you want it?” a fan yelled. “C’mon!”
The Cavs came out of the weight room to practice free throws before halftime ended.
The Cougars stormed the court 10 seconds before the second half began.
After the first half, the boys played harder and better, Ancrum said, and paid more attention to defense and details.
The Cavs slowly chipped at the Cougars’ lead, bringing the game to 40-42 at the end of the third.
But the second-half surge wasn’t enough to bring the Cavs a victory.
Freshman Rick Barros III led the team with 20 points. Other high scorers included freshmen Jayce McCain with 14 and B.J. Askew with 12.
“It was just one of those games where you just can’t make a shot,” Ancrum said. “It happens.”
In addition, “we just really slacked on the rebounds,” he said.
Ancrum said the team came away from this loss knowing that every game is different but that three things are a must.
“I know it’s easier said than done, but it boils down to defense, free throws and rebounding,” Ancrum said.