Boys basketball wins quarterfinals CCS NorCal 2022

Chelsea Lee and Elizabeth Cheng

“We’re used to the pressure,” center and senior Keshav Mannem said. “We kind of like it.”

Led by senior Nikhil Narasimhan’s 16 points, junior Jonathan Fu’s four three-pointers and senior Derrick Cai’s clutch free throws, with discipline and camaraderie, the Vikings overcame the Luther Burbank Titans 73-70 in the quarter-finals of the Division III NorCal Playoffs. 

Going into the game, Lynbrook head coach Rick Appler understood the Titans’ athletic talent in driving and finishing at the rim. Through tough defense, the Vikings worked to force Luther Burbank to take jump shots instead of layups.

However, Lynbrook’s five-point lead at halftime quickly diminished in the third quarter after a few fumbled passes and uncharacteristic turnovers, which led to easy layups by the Titans. Still, Lynbrook stayed true to their game, executing beautiful drive-and-dish plays that left the crowd roaring and only one point behind Burbank going into the fourth quarter.

Then foul trouble struck. Lynbrook’s bench players had to step up, and they did. Eight Vikings made it into the scorebook, compared to Luther Burbank’s six.

“Our greatest strength was our togetherness,” Appler said. “Our guys are so tough. They stick together, no matter what happens.”

During the last seconds of the game, clutch free throws by Cai helped to seal the Vikings’ victory. Fans, many of whom were drawn in by the pep rally during lunch, thundered from the stands with Victor the Viking and the Lynbrook cheerleading squad’s chants.

“It was a fast-paced game, but the boys fought really hard, dug deep and found a way to win,” girls varsity assistant coach Kevin Lew said.

Lynbrook will play Oakland High School in the semi-finals on Thursday.