Boys basketball dominates the court


Photo by Catherine Zhou

The boys varsity basketball team celebrates a win against Monta Vista High School.

Catherine Zhou, Design Editor

As the clock ticked down, the crowd erupted into cheers when the boys varsity basketball team defeated rival Monta Vista on Jan. 29 by eight points. With an overall record of 14-5 and a standing of 6th in the Central Coast Section league, this season has been the team’s best one in years.

The season started off strong with an impressive 71-37 win against Westmont in the Vikepound season opener game on Nov. 27. One of their most memorable games of the season was their second game against Carlmont, one of the top teams outside their league. Despite being undermanned and down 10 points at the half, they rallied back and won the game.

“It made a lot of guys realize that it’s not just a few of our best players that carry us to win, it’s a team effort,” head coach Rick Appler said. 

With this mindset, the team continued to dominate. After a close loss against Los Altos, they maintained an incredible six-game winning streak, outscoring the teams by a range of 14 to 50 points per game. For the first time in several years, they defeated Silver Creek to become champions of the Lynbrook Winter Classic tournament. Led by top scorers Derrick Cai, Jonathan Fu and Nikhil Narasimhan, the team qualified for CCS, and they currently have a 5-2 record in the El Camino league.

The team credits their extraordinary success to their dedication and teamwork. Players went to preseason strength and conditioning workouts in the summer, and in the months leading up to the season, they trained nearly every week. As the season progressed, the team learned to persevere through difficulties from COVID-19 and injuries, emerging stronger than before. 

“It’s been tough to not only practice but also to stay motivated because we don’t know when we’re going to have a fully healthy team, but we just learned how to cope with it,” senior and co-captain Nikhil Narasimhan said.

In addition, the team welcomed back 11 seniors from last year’s young varsity squad, and most of the players have played together for several years, so the team is more experienced and tight-knit than previous years.

“I think our team chemistry is really good, and we’re all friends on and off the court,” junior Jonathan Fu said.

According to the players, the coaches have also played a large role in their success by effectively managing the team, developing game strategies, and keeping the players in check. Before every game, the coaches set three team goals for rebounds, free throws, and turnovers before every game. If they succeed in those goals, they’ll most likely win the game. More importantly, these goals are meant to inspire all the players to work hard.

“It doesn’t really require skill to accomplish them, it’s just based on your effort,” senior Albert Huang said.

Indeed, the players’ efforts have resulted in many wins, and they have set their sights high.

“Our biggest goal is to win leagues, and then after that go for a CCS run, and see what happens from there,” senior and co-captain Derrick Cai said.