Boys’ basketball: Senior-led group aims to dominate El Camino

November 19, 2021 — by Benjamin Li, Esther Luan and Howard Shu
Photo by Now & Forever Studios
Then sophomore varsity player Christian Li dribbles the ball upcourt during a home game in the 2019-20 season

Head Coach: Patrick Judge

Last year’s record: 8-4

Recap: The team made it to the CCS semifinals but lost to Burlingame High School.

Key Matchups: Los Gatos and Burlingame

Star Players: Seniors center Giulio Morini-Bianzino, shooting guard Som Teymouri, small forward Christian Li and point guard Christopher Liu, Power forward Ayaaz Shah

Key losses to graduation: Point guard Tyler Chu, shooting guard Cameron King, point guard/forward Nathan Oh

League: El Camino

Prognosis:

The boys’ basketball team opened the season with a 56-40 win against Aptos High School. The game started smoothly with the Falcons finding themselves up 27-16 by halftime. The game stayed in their favor in the later half of the game as well, with their biggest lead coming in the third quarter at 44-24. Key runs by Christian Li, who ended with 15 points and 3 3-pointers, and Som Teymori kept morale high, and the team finished satisfied with a 16-point lead.

Senior point guard Christopher Liu was happy with how the team played defensively but believes there is still room for improvement for the team to reach its maximum potential.

“We played well, but we haven’t unlocked our true potential yet,” Liu said. “But overall, I’m really happy with the way we played.”

After a successful season last year, finishing third in the El Camino League and just falling short of CCS finals after a 57-51 loss against Burlingame, the team is looking to dominate again in the El Camino League this winter. This year’s varsity team is comprised of 14 players: seven seniors, six juniors and one sophomore.

Although the Falcons lost seven players to graduation, the team remains strong because the current lineup largely consists of seniors that share good team chemistry, with many having played together since middle school, power forward junior Mayson Yu said. 

According to Liu, the team played 20 scrimmages against other schools in the area over the summer and only lost two. Both losses were against Los Altos, which is in the stronger De Anza league. Liu believes the team’s efforts over the pandemic strengthened them, as they continued practicing hard whereas “many other teams took it as an off year.”

“[During COVID-19], our coaches really united us through practices and group outings,” Liu said. “Even though we couldn’t play in the gym, we practiced together outdoors.”

Liu said the team is better set up than last year to win CCS due to members’ experience and the additional training. 

“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for years now but have never been able to achieve, and I think we have a good shot [this year],” he said. 

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