Girl’s Basketball: Falcons struggle to push through illnesses during season February 13, 2017 — by Julia Miller and Harshini Ramaswamy Permalink Injuries have hobbled the Falcons so far in league play, forcing the team to use multiple starting lineups and contributing to the team’s 14-6 record. Specifically, seniors guard Jenny Qian has been battling through a torn ACL; senior guard Aryana Goodarzi has struggled with a quad injury; and senior guard Rachel Davey has had back issues. Davey is confident, however, that the team is putting in enough effort to overcome these setbacks. “We've all been working really hard and our bodies probably weren't used to this much physical activity,” Davey said. “Basketball is a huge commitment.” Because of the injuries and the fact that they have stayed in the upper league this year, the team’s season has had considerable ups and downs. The Falcons won against Homestead in an away game on Jan. 27, defeating the Mustangs 53-34. The team grabbed the lead in the first quarter, hitting three three-pointers and maintaining the lead throughout the game. Junior team captain Harshini Ramaswamy led the team with 14 points and six rebounds, with Davey adding 11 points and 5 points and sophomore center Kirstin Kruka following with 9 points and 10 rebounds. The girls faced Wilcox at home on Jan. 25 and won 57-38. According to Davey, the team “has gotten much better and everyone has taken it upon themselves to make the team better.” Ramaswamy poured in 27 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. Davey contributed with 11 points, 8 assists and 6 steals while Goodarzi had 6 points. Senior center Yianna Spirakis shined throughout the game, chipping in with 8 rebounds against Wilcox. Though Spirakis can be timid on the court, Davey recognizes that she has been vocal and “boxes out hard and gives us solid minutes at the post.” On Jan. 20, the girls won against Mountain View by utilizing the skills they have been perfecting during the practices and recognizing the disadvantages of the other team. “The key to beating Mountain View was out-rebounding then because they have a few six footers,” Davey said. “We also had to communicate because we often switched defenses on the fly during the game.” The Falcons came home to play Gunn on Jan. 18. The night ended in a devastating 5-point loss in overtime for the Falcons, who played hard throughout the entire game. The team’s defense had kept them in the game, allowing them to lead by four points after the first half. However, the lack of communication and execution resulted in a breakdown during the game, and Gunn took the lead in the third quarter. According to Davey, they played well against Gunn, even though “the outcome was not what they wanted.” Though the team did not come away with the win, the game had been an impressive one individually and in terms of team defense. Goodarzi and new addition freshman Anika Prasad led the team with 13 points each, while Ramaswamy and Kruka had 11 rebounds apiece with 12 points and eight points, respectively. Davey also had a great night, with 10 points and 10 assists on the board. The Falcons suffered a loss to Los Gatos in an away game on Jan. 11. The teams trailed each other every quarter by a few points, but due to a scoring deficit in the fourth quarter by the Falcons, the Cats pulled away with the win 57-39. “After the Los Gatos game, we decided that we needed to focus on what we could control such as rebounding, communication, and executing our plays,” Davey said. With Goodarzi sitting out due to an illness, the team struggled to score during transition and offense. The girls rallied throughout the game, but were unable to finish out with a win. Prasad led the team with 12 points, Ramaswamy chipped in 11 points and Davey added 6 assists. The Falcons faced off against Homestead in a home game on Jan. 6. With improved communication leading to a better defense, the Falcons came away with a win 56-47, overcoming what they saw as questionable officiating and foul trouble among the starters. The team kicked off League in an away game at Gunn, playing the Palo Alto Vikings, their long time rivals on Jan. 4. The Falcons came out strong in the first quarter, yet they fell behind during the rest of the game, allowing the Vikings to win 81-46. Despite the obstacles of the game, the Falcons played hard, with Goodarzi leading the team with 21 points and Spirakis hitting the boards off the bench. The loss was a result of a lack of communication on transition defense, causing the Falcons to lose sight of shooters and drivers on the court, which broke down their defense. The Falcons were also unable to execute offensive plays which led to a scoring deficit, allowing their rivals to dominate offensively. In order to rectify these mistakes, Coach Mike Davey and assistant Coach Aron Mitsunaga have introduced the “rim runner,” where the first person back on defense must call the “rim” and direct their fellow teammates to any open sports. They also have increased focus on running plays during practice, with players learning all positions. “After the Paly game, I was frustrated with the loss because I felt we were better than we played,” Coach Davey said. “At the same time, I think we’re better because we lost because it has taught us lessons to improve our deficiencies for CCS.” In terms of hopes for the rest of league, Goodarzi hopes to continue to improve in order to get “second place in league and win another CCS championship.” Due to printing deadlines, the Falcon was unable to cover the home game against Los Gatos on Jan. 31.