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est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

Boys’ Varsity Basketball Opens CIF Playoffs On the Road Against Menifee’s Santa Rosa Academy

Wildcats seek first playoff win since 2013-2014 season.
Daisy Mora
Adrian Ramirez, senior, dribbles at a defender during a Jan. 26 game against Esperanza High School. Ramirez and his varsity basketball teammates travel to Menifee’s Santa Rosa Academy tomorrow night in a CIF-SS Division 4AA first round playoff game.

On Wednesday evening, boys’ varsity basketball will travel to Menifee in Riverside County to face Santa Rosa Academy in the opening round of CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs. 

The Wildcats, who finished the regular season 10-15 overall, and second place in the North Hills League, are seeking their first playoff win since the 2013-2014 season. Their opponent comes into the game at 14-14 overall, and tied for second in the South Valley League with a 9-3 record.

Varsity earned a spot in the playoffs with a victory against El Modena in the last game of the regular season on Feb. 1. On the Vanguards’ Senior Night, the Wildcats prevailed, 57-48, lifting them into second place in league with a 3-3 record.

“Our last game against El Modena, we played like a team. So if we play like that [tomorrow], I think we can beat [Santa Rosa Academy],” Jarred Gonzales, senior, said. 

The team feels well-prepared for the matchup against the Rangers. When playoff pairings were announced by CIF on Feb. 4, the team watched film of their opponent and spent Monday and Tuesday afternoon practicing. “We’ve pushed ourselves [this week], and prepared our offense and defense for the [other] team’s plays,” Logan Severson, sophomore, said. Severson leads the Wildcats in scoring at 8.2 points per game. 

The Rangers are led by Chris Jones, junior point guard, who averages 20.2 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.4 steals per game. 

While the Wildcats acknowledge Jones’s high-scoring offensive game, they are still confident that their team — and the Wildcats defense — will persevere. “We saw that he has a green light to shoot a lot; he’s one of few people we should take notice of so we’re worried about him, but not too worried,” Tyson Tayag, sophomore, said.

“I think we can get [Jones] way lower than 20 points against us because we have Elijah McCraw. His defense, shooting, and energy is what makes him great,” Jalen Tran, senior, said.

The Wildcats’ journey to the playoffs was a bumpy one, with the challenge of adjusting to a midseason coaching change and enduring a seven game losing streak from late December to the end of January.

“We’ve been working more as a team, gotten more comfortable around each other and with the coaching staff. Overall, the team has improved in every aspect. Everyone’s relationship has improved,” Tran said. 

Head coach Eric Shaw and assistant Colby Reese will lead the team into CIF.

“We’re excited. We’ve been working really hard in practice and going over our plays. Our bonding as a team has improved. [We] trust in each other,” Addison Altermatt, junior, said.

The Wildcats’ journey continues tomorrow as they travel 57 miles to Menifee. The game plan: limit turnovers, dominate the boards (Cashus Smith, junior, leads the Wildcats with 4.6 rebounds per game), stop Jones, apply pressure to the ballhandlers, and make the opponent “uncomfortable.” 

“Our drive to make CIF pushed us towards our motivation of the [mindset] ‘we have to win,’” Tran said.


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About the Contributors
Azilynn Fuerte, Staff Writer
Azilynn Fuerte, freshman, is a cheerleader and a staff writer for the Wildcat. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and cheerleading at sporting events, which she hopes to do this for the rest of her high school career. Post-high school, Azilynn wants to be a family lawyer and attend Hope College.
Daisy Mora, Staff Writer
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  • Rhoda VasquezFeb 7, 2024 at 11:17 pm

    Great article indeed! Would love to read more articles like this.

  • Anthony De LeonFeb 7, 2024 at 10:09 am

    Great article! Good luck Wildcats!

  • Junaid KhurshedFeb 6, 2024 at 9:30 pm

    Great article !