Boys’ basketball: Falcons look to rebound after tough start to league season

January 29, 2020 — by Benjamin Li and Tiffany Wang

Following last Friday’s stinging 67-41 defeat to Lynbrook, the Falcon basketball team, currently 2-4 in the league, is looking for more consistent play as they try to finish out games.

Other league losses include a 67-57 defeat to Wilcox on Jan. 22, and a 76-59 loss to Santa Clara on Jan. 10 and a 51-37 loss to Gunn on Jan. 8. 

Their  two victories were a 73-65 win over Monta Vista on Jan. 15 and a 65-60 win over Fremont on Jan. 3.

Despite their league record, a strong preseason has allowed the team to already qualify for CCS. Although the league season has thus far been disappointing for them, they are hoping that the experience playing tougher teams like Wilcox will help in CCS, where they are likely to face weaker competition.

“A lot of people are improving and getting more confident in games, which makes me hopeful for the rest of the league and CCS,” junior point guard Tyler Chu said. “We had some tough games, but I feel confident that we are going to go on a run and win a lot of future games.”

Right now, the biggest challenge is to stay consistent. Many times the Falcons find themselves up with one or two quarters left to play, but lose the lead in the last few minutes.

“A lot of the time we tend to play really well for three quarters,” junior shooting guard Cameron King said, “but there is always a period of time in a game, whether it's the first quarter or the beginning of half time, where we have a string of mental lapses and the other team goes on a big run.”

The Falcons’ three leading scorers — Leo Cao, Siva Sambasivam and Cameron King — have each had several games with over 20 points, a balance of scoring that is quite rare in the league. However, these games have not overlapped, and the Falcons usually find themselves relying on one or two players every game, while other shooters go cold. 

This has led to opponents adjusting defensive strategies against the Falcons, often double-teaming or over-helping on the team’s hottest shooter that game. This is why the Falcons often start out games strong, but falter toward the end when opponents take away their biggest weapon.

“We have to figure out how to close games out,” Chu said. “We usually come out of the gate strong, but towards the end of the game, our defense falters and that makes it a lot harder for us to convert on the offensive end.”

Chu added that the Falcons are at their best when they play in transition and get up and down the court, as evidenced by nearly 50 percent of their points being on transition buckets in their two league wins. 

“When we get out and run we are basically unstoppable,” Sambasivam said. “One of our biggest struggles is offensive rebounding but our ability to push it forces other teams to send players back, allowing us to easily get boards and get into our transition offense.”

Another challenge that the team faces is a lack of senior leadership. With only two seniors, Sambasivam and Cao, the team is younger than many opponents.

“I think a lot of people expected this,” sophomore guard Christian Li said. “We only have two seniors this year so the team is kind of young and less experienced.” 

This lack of experience has made it harder for the team to play consistently, as they have constant ups and downs. 

“We have a lot of on and off within our team, where we can play really well for a few minutes then horrible for the next few,” Li said.

Regardless, the team is hopeful that they can snap out of this slump quickly and head into CCS on a winning streak. 

“Our goal has always been and will always be making finals of CCS,” Sambasivam said. “Our coach [Patrick Judge] has been there before, and we know that we have more than enough talent to get back there, so we just have to keep grinding.”