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est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

Varsity Basketball Advances to Second Round of CIF With Blow-Out Win

Smith, Tyson lead Wildcats to 22-point win over Menifee’s Santa Rosa Academy.
Demetri Garcia
Carson Tracey, sophomore, drives past a Santa Rosa Academy defender for two points during the Wildcats’ playoff opening win in Menifee.

The long bus ride home from Santa Rosa Academy in Menifee provided ample time for boys’ varsity basketball to celebrate their 66-44 victory in the first round of CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs. The Wildcats now face the Costa Mesa Mustangs of the Orange Coast League in the second round.

On Wednesday, the Wildcats raced out to a 19-4 first quarter lead against the smaller Rangers and never looked back. By halftime, the Wildcats were up 44-15, and cruised to a 66-44 win.

“[We] started off strong. Tyson Tayag was getting to the rim, finishing,” Carson Tracey, sophomore, said.

“[We] had a long drive, but our energy was good when we got there. We played as a team [and] they buckled under pressure,” Cashus Smith, junior, said,  

The Wildcats also shut down Santa Rosa Academy’s leading scorer, Chris Jones, who entered the game averaging 20.2 points. The defense limited Jones’s scoring opportunities by pressuring him and “[forcing] him to his right side [since] he’s a lefty,” Tracey said. 

Leading the way for the Wildcats were Cashus Smith, junior, with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, and junior Steven Tyson, who led all scorers with 15 points. 11 Wildcats scored points in the game. 

With the win, the Wildcats earned a home game at BOHS against Costa Mesa High School.

The Mustangs finished their regular season 17-12 overall and first place in the Orange Coast League with a 10-2 record. Costa Mesa opened the first round of CIF at home against Burbank Burroughs and won, 86-77. 

The Wildcats and Mustangs faced two of the same teams this season — Orange and Calvary Chapel high schools. BOHS beat Orange 63-36, on Dec. 6, while Costa Mesa won, 78-64 and 50-49 during their Orange Coast League season. Against Calvary Chapel, BOHS won 51-47 on Dec. 2, while Costa Mesa High School split with a 55-54 win and a 60-58 loss. 

To prepare for tomorrow night’s game the Wildcats will watch film on their opponent. Additionally, the plan is to “stay hype but don’t get too cocky,” Smith said.  

Tracey emphasized communication “on defense [to] bring a lot of energy” and to “make sure [their] mind is in the right place, [stay] hydrated, stay focused.”

The 22-point win against Santa Rosa Academy was a playoff-opening confidence boost for the Wildcats. 

“We feel more confident playing as a team, because it’s not just [one person] playing, it’s a [group] effort,” Tracey said.

Game time is 7 p.m. in the Wildcat gym. Tickets are available for purchase at GoFan.

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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.
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  • Rhoda VasquezFeb 9, 2024 at 7:24 am

    Another great article by Azilynn & picture by Demetri. Thank you for highlighting our Boys Basketball.