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BOTB: Vars boys falls short, losing to the Eagles 56-60 BY LEE WILCOX

The varsity boys basketball team lost 60-56 to the Washington Eagles at the annual Battle of the Birds game on Friday, Jan. 18 at Kezar Pavilion.

Above: Senior guard Joshua Ng dodges two Eagle defenders as he makes his way to the hoop. Photo by Susan Wong

Left: Senior foward Andrew Ren drives into the key. Photo by Susan Wong

In the first quarter, the Cards blocked the Eagles’ tip-off and claimed possession of the ball. Senior forward Jace Ng made the first basket of the game for the Cardinals. The Eagles’ attempt to score failed when senior forward Andrew Ren scored again. Lowell was looking strong, especially as junior forward player Rishi Raghavan stole the ball from a Washington free throw and proceeded to score. Immediately thereafter, however, the Eagles scored consecutively, tying both teams and leaving Lowell struggling to keep up. The quarter ended at 14-12.

Left: Senior guard JT Reyes motions for a play. Photo by Christina Johnson Top Right: Senior forward Jace Ng posts up against an Eagle defender. Photo by Susan Wong Bottom Right: Senior guard Darren Loo hooks a layup. Photo by Susan Wong

The second quarter began with a basket from Ng. This was followed by a quick exchange of scores by both teams, but the scoring definitely was biased toward the Eagles. Lowell suffered particularly on defensive rebounding; most of Washington’s baskets were made by stealing from Lowell’s free throws. Through a combination of this and Washington’s own free throws, the Eagles continued to pull ahead of the Cards and concluded the second quarter at 35-21.

Left: Junior forward Cal Ladine pushes through two Eagle defenders to get to the rim. Right: Senior forward Jace Ng shoots a free throw. Photos by Susan Wong
Senior Miranda Larkin leads the cheer team in the half time performance. Photo by Susan Wong

Coming out of the break of halftime into the third quarter, Lowell seemed to be doing far better. Senior guard JT Reyes made the first basket of the quarter. But then Washington scored twice, breaking a total of 40 points and held tightly to their lead throughout the quarter despite the Cards’ best efforts. The difference between the two teams’ scores varied as the quarter ground on, but Washington continued to lead. The quarter ended at 50-39.

Junior forward Rishi Raghavan shoots a free throw, as the Eagles standby and watch. Photo by Susan Wong

As the final quarter began, the Eagles’ lead was short-lived. Raghavan started the quarter off by making a three-pointer, pulling the two teams the closest together they’d been in the past two quarters. The Eagles tried to rush their way through Lowell’s defense, but it was ultimately ineffective and the Cards scored. However, the Eagles reclaimed the lead and started to score repeatedly. After a brief time-out, the Cards seized the initiative and Ng scored a goal from the side, dodging the Eagles’ defense. Shortly after an unexpected three-pointer from Cal Ladine, Raghavan made another basket for the Cards. This rapid scoring streak quickly closed the gap between the teams to a measly one point, which led into a standoff. With mere seconds left in the quarter and a significant buildup of unresolved fouls, the final seconds of the period became a tradeoff of free throws. Unfortunately for the Cards, Washington made four free throws, leaving the final score at 60-56.

Senior guard JT Reyes looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to. Photo by Christina Johnson

Despite the loss, Coach Lavdiotis was proud of the team’s perseverance and teamwork. “The first half the problem was we weren’t passing enough...We talked about it, really turned that around the second half; they started to play together,” Lavdiotis said. “The thing is, [when] we play together, we’re hard to beat.”

The next game is on Thursday, Jan. 31, against the Galileo Lions at home.

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