“If you want to be the champs, you have to beat the champs,” coach David Ancrum said as the boys walked back onto the court after halftime.
The boys were trailing, 21-27, to the 2017 league champions, Sacramento Adventist, and would end up narrowly losing the game, 57-60, on Jan. 25.
This game was important as the Capitals were the only team the boys had lost to in league last season.
“It’s going to be a lot of pressure because they’re our biggest rival,” sophomore Ted Zhou said before the game.
Senior Harkirat Lally agreed about the high pressure and importance of the game.
“We just have to play a well-rounded game,” Lally added.
But the Cavs couldn’t pull it off.
And the main reasons were missed layups and senior guard Griffin Trull from Sacramento Adventist, according to senior Reggie Fan, Lally, Ancrum and assistant coach Miles Edwards.
“Executing layups definitely would have won us the game,” Lally said.
Fan agreed with Lally.
“We have to fix the little things, especially the layups, and keep playing hard,” Fan said.
Trull, who had won MVP all-league last year and currently leads the SMAL (Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League) league with 20.3 points per game, had 28 points and was the second big reason for the Cavs’ defeat.
Twelve of his points were from 3-pointers.
“We shouldn’t have let their best player score as much,” Edwards said.
“He made some tough shots,” Fan said.
Ancrum agreed with Fan.
“He’s a big-time player and wanted the ball at the end of the game,” Ancrum said. “I thought we did a good job playing defense on him even though he made those tough shots.”
The score was close up to the last seconds of the game.
With three seconds remaining and the score at 57-60, Fan brought up the ball and shot a 3-pointer but was pushed from behind by a Capital player, missing the shot.
However, the referee didn’t call the foul, diminishing any hope the Cavs had of going into overtime.
The referee apologized to Fan after the game for missing the call, Fan said.
Although the team was disappointed, players appreciated having the largest crowd all season with parents, teachers and students cheering. They hope to have the same crowd when they face the Capitals again on Monday, Feb. 12.
They also want to change things on defense and offense so they can beat the champions.
“I think we’ll be better defensively,” Ancrum said. “We know pretty much who’s doing most of the scoring. But we need to do better with the press break (to win).”
Fan said that to defeat the Capitals, the Cavs need to share the ball and move the ball more on defense.
Senior Reggie Fan led the team with 19 points, with 12 of his points being from 3-pointers. Senior Bryce Longoria followed Fan with 14 points.
The boys’ next game is on Saturday, Jan. 27, away against Valley Christian (3-3 in league) at 7:30 p.m. The Cavs previously defeated the Lions, 86-55, on Jan. 23.
The boys (12-2 overall, 4-2 in league) are ranked third in league behind Faith Christian. Sacramento Adventist is in first.