Girls’ basketball falls to Aptos in CCS quarterfinals

March 23, 2022 — by Minsui Tang
Photo by Ian Tippetts
The Falcons ended their season with an overall record of 9-14.

The girls’ varsity basketball team concluded its CCS run with a 60-49 loss in an away game against Aptos in the quarterfinals on Feb. 22. They placed sixth in the De Anza league with a league record of 3-9 and held an overall record of 9-14.

The Falcons had a bye in the first round of CCS, automatically advancing them to the next round. The second round of CCS, away against Sobrato on Feb. 19, was one of the team’s best performances this season, with the team winning 49-45. 

In both games, junior co-captain and point guard Tanya Ghai led the team in scoring with 27 points scored against Sobrato and 17 against Aptos. Junior co-captain and forward Mika Tippetts had the most rebounds with eight in the quarterfinal and seven in the second round.

“We played really well as a team, and everyone contributed. It was a great start [to CCS playoffs],” said Ghai.

The athletes went into the quarterfinals with “a lot of emotions, since this game could be the end of our season,” sophomore guard Zinneerah Ahmed said. 

Then came the Aptos matchup. The team originally felt confident, since some of Aptos’ strongest players were absent. The Falcons also watched some film of how Aptos played, but being in an unfamiliar court contributed to a first-half deficit.

“We can prepare as much as possible, but the execution and mid game adjustments are crucial in staying on top,” said Joshua, coach of the Varsity girls’ basketball team. 

The Falcons incorporated specific defenses for each team they played against and focused on having more ball and player movement. However, they eventually found success in prioritizing offense.

Though the game ended in a loss for the Falcons, it was an overall “great game, and I’m glad we got this far,” Ghai said. Although the season also began roughly, with the Falcons losing four consecutive games, the girls still enjoyed bonding with each other and said that it was the “highlight of [their] season.”

Coach Rivera also noted many encouraging moments from the team to each other, and he said he was proud of the team for “making it to CCS” and winning a playoff. He observed “peaks and valleys” throughout the season, especially with a limited roster at one point as well as helping returning players who had been away due to different reasons.

Off-season, Coach Rivera says he is excited to work with the players, as he looks forward to setting a “solid foundation” for the next season which he has high expectations for.

Losing the seniors and power forwards Naomi Mallik and Amarangana Tyagi will be a big challenge for the team, according to Ahmed, though she is hopeful the team will continue to grow and succeed in the future.

“Even though we’re only losing two of our players, they’re our main starters and have big roles in this team. But seeing how we ended the season, I think we can develop more of our other players so they can become starters and replace [the seniors,” she said. “By working hard during the offseason and focusing on each of us, I think we’ll be fine.”

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