January 30, 2019 —
As the clock wound down to 50 seconds left in the fourth period during the home game against the Wilcox Chargers on Jan. 25, the Falcons trailed by three points. Playing aggressive defense, senior forward Sehij Dhindsa reached into an opposing Charger’s dribble, stole the ball and passed it directly to sophomore guard Cameron King, who was wide open outside the 3-point line.
King sunk the shot. The crowd roared. The Falcons led by one.
But not for long, as the Chargers scored twice on layups and grabbed key rebounds to secure a 47-43 win. As of last Friday, the Falcons were 3-4 in league and 12-7 overall, but had qualified for CCS based on preseason play.
Senior forward Patrick Li attributes the loss to Wilcox to the team’s turnovers. The Falcons turned the ball over 18 times compared to only seven assists, something that hasn’t happened much this year.
Additionally the Falcons shot five for 30 from three-point range, the first time they failed to crack the 25 percent threshold this season. Despite that, the team remained competitive throughout, a sign of their vastly improved defense.
“We played a lot better defense on Friday against Wilcox, but we are still turning the ball over too much,” Li said. “I think our next step is to take care of the ball better, and then our shots will follow.”
Despite the loss, senior captain Kyle Yu said that the Falcons competed hard the whole game and that there numerous instances that showed the Falcons growth over the year.
Early on, senior guard Hanlin Sun made a pair of 3-pointers, putting the Falcons on top. Dhindsa also grabbed key offensive rebounds, allowing the Falcons to keep putting up points and keep pace with the Chargers. Finally, Li played amazing defense inside, preventing the Chargers from getting easy buckets at the rim.
With the average height of the players on the team being around 6’ 0” to 6’ 1,” the Falcons often find themselves battling taller opponents. Yu said that for what the team lacks in size, they make up for in quickness.
“Our team is small, so we play really fast to make it difficult for the teams with big players to keep on,” Yu said. “Once we get a rebound or the other team scores, we immediately run and try to score at the other end.”
While the players individually are performing well, Yu said that their teamwork has also improved, allowing them to execute plays quicker and more cohesively under the direction of coach Patrick Judge.
“The team chemistry is starting to get better,” Yu said. “We are beginning to trust each other more, and our defense is starting to pick up to be really good.”
In recent games, the Falcons beat the Fremont Firebirds 68-58 at home on Jan. 22 as well as the Lynbrook Vikings 75-65 in an away game on Jan. 18.
The Falcons look to bounce back during tonight’s game at Santa Clara. Additional upcoming games include a home game against Monta Vista on Feb. 4 and an away game against Milpitas on Feb. 6.
Because they have already qualified CCS, Yu said that their main goal is to get a high seed in Division 3 of the CCS playoffs.
“I think we can make a good run in CCS,” Yu said. “I think we can get to the CCS finals too.”