Boys’ basketball team trying to adjust to new players and coach

December 10, 2022 — by Neal Malhotra and Andy Zhu
Sophomore Caleb Yu and junior Brooks Overton go head to head during a practice on Oct. 21.
New coach Mike Davey has brought new plays and switched playing styles for the team.

With the boys’ basketball team’s first league game coming up on Jan. 6 against Mountain View, the team (1-4 in preseason play as of Dec. 8) is concentrating on improving in all areas. This effort is being led by senior captains Julian Berkowitz-Sklar, Niveydh Pai, Mateusz Palusinki and Mason Wang.

With longtime history teacher and basketball coach Mike Davey becoming the new head coach this year, the team has tried to improve their play style. According to Palusinski, the starting center, their main focus during games is to move with flow, and not robotically.

On Dec. 8, the team suffered a tough 2-point loss against Branham. The game went down to the wire, with the team being down 8 points in the last 40 seconds. The Falcons made a steep comeback in the short time, led by junior Bryan Wang. 

After being fouled on a 3-point attempt, Wang was sent to the free throw line for three free throws. He made the first two, but intentionally missed the third so that the Falcon bigs could have a chance at making a tip in. The play didn’t work, and they fell short. 

Despite it being a very competitive game, the Falcons were short handed with only six players available. Key players like Palusinki, Pai, Yu and Berkowitz-Sklar were all out because of injury. In addition, sophomore Daniel Jidali is out with sickness.

In practice, the team has been working on boxing out and rebounding. Wang, the leading scorer, believes that the team is getting killed on second chance points. 

“We are not the biggest team, so we need to help each other out and our bigs to work for more rebounds,” Wang said.

The Falcons beat North Monterey County 62-23 for their one victory, but have dropped games to Leigh, Monterey, Christopher and Branham.

Another change this year is that two sophomores have made the varsity roster, Caleb Yu and Jadali. One of the main challenges Yu faces as an underclassman is having to play in a league with physically bigger players.

“A limitation for me is my age,” Yu said. “Especially being a point guard, you need to be the leader, but it’s hard to lead a group of seniors when you’re a sophomore. Also I feel that I can still grow size wise, so battling with what I am right now might be a bit of a setback, but I’m not worried.”

With new players on the team, there are always growing pains that need to be worked out. According to Davey, the new addition of younger players on the roster means the team needs to put in more effort to build chemistry, especially with the seniors needing to take the underclassman under their wing and teach them to work as one.

Chemistry will be a challenge for this team as many upperclassmen are playing with sophomores for the first time. To address this, the team has been spending time trying to strengthen their bonds on and off the court.

“I think we’re getting a lot better,” Yu said. “We’re learning really quickly and adapting to our new play style.”

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