Despite a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from senior guard Jackson Crawford, the boys varsity basketball team lost its final game of the season 62-42 to the Western Sierra Wolves on Feb. 13 at Country Day.
As is customary, the seniors received roses and compliments from coach David Ancrum in front of a large crowd.
The game began with a quick layup from the Wolves (24-2 overall, 13-1 Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League), setting the pace for the remainder of the first half. After a dunk by Wolves 6-foot-5 forward Brayden Biel, the half ended 38-13, with the Cavs (1-20, 1-13) lagging behind.
With Western Sierra’s top two players sitting out the second half, Country Day outscored the Wolves 29-24. It was the Cavs’ best half of the season, according to Ancrum.
“The guys were aggressive — shooting the ball, playing defense,” Ancrum said. “Playing hard is a skill, and sometimes we lack it, but tonight, we played hard and aggressive.”
Crawford, who led the Cavs with 20 points (including five 3-pointers), agreed.
“We were writing things we wanted to do well in the second half on the whiteboard in the weight room at halftime,” Crawford said. “So coming out in the second half, we wanted to check those things off. We played harder, and as a result, our sense of urgency was a lot better. We started making the right plays and shots.”
Senior Chris Wilson, who sat out due to a knee injury, said the team was amazing.
“They were being active and getting a lot of steals,” Wilson said. “I loved how they played in the second half. Watching them put that effort in for their last game was amazing.”
Senior center Aaron Graves (six points, six assists) said he was satisfied despite their loss.
“It was honestly a really good last game,” Graves said. “Although we didn’t win, I loved seeing my teammates put everything out on the court. I feel like everybody put in 100% effort to try to win our final game.”
Senior forward Jason Li (two points) commented on the season.
“It’s been really fun,” Li said. “I couldn’t ask for better teammates. Even though it was my first year (on the team), they never treated me like a rookie on the court. The chemistry of this team really made my senior year.”
Crawford agreed, saying the season ended well.
“It was cool to end my last season with a 3-point swish as the buzzer sounded. It was poetic in some ways,” Crawford said. “It’s been fun to be on this team and play for (Ancrum). And yes, it’s a lot of hard work coming to practices in the mornings, and yes we didn’t have a super-successful season, but it was fun to share these memories with the team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that makes me glad I came back and played.”
Freshman forward Rod Azghadi led the Cavs this season with 177 points and 69 field goals. Crawford followed with 148 points and had the most points per game (12.3) and 3-pointers (37).
Although the seniors are done with basketball, their teammates are not.
Ancrum said he plans to have the Cavs back in the gym soon, practicing for next season.
—By Arijit Trivedi