Men’s Basketball Season Recap

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Jocelyn Castañeda, Opinions Editor

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March 10, 2019
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Men’s Basketball Season Recap

Men’s Basketball playing their last league game before their first round of CIF on Jan. 29 2019.

Men’s Basketball playing their last league game before their first round of CIF on Jan. 29 2019.

Jocelyn De La Torre

Men’s Basketball playing their last league game before their first round of CIF on Jan. 29 2019.

Jocelyn De La Torre

Jocelyn De La Torre

Men’s Basketball playing their last league game before their first round of CIF on Jan. 29 2019.

The men’s basketball season had been very successful due to the eight returning senior varsity players, strong preparation and resilient coaching. The men’s basketball varsity team obtained third place in the Crestview League, had an overall of 15-14 and made it to the CIF playoffs.

The first round of CIF playoffs for the team occurred on Feb. 8 at Pasadena High School. Pasadena won by 5 points with the final score of 53-48. Despite the loss, the Aztecs had fought hard throughout the whole game, keeping it consistently difficult for Pasadena to advance.

Two of the varsity team’s biggest accomplishments are beating cross town rivals, El Dorado, and winning against Yorba Linda. Esperanza played El Dorado twice and varsity won both games. The first game was on Dec.15 and had a final score of 66-52. The second game was on Jan. 5 with a final score of 41-40. The result of fighting through such a tough and close game shows the heart the players had and as well as the effect of great preparation.

The great preparation was due to “having a detailed scouting report on the opponents, going over players individual responsibilities and how we are going to defend them,” said varsity coach, Mark Hill. The team only played against YL once, but this game was huge to the Aztecs as it was representing our school in “Beat YL Week.” The game was on Jan. 18, and the Aztecs won with a final score of 42-36.

“Our greatest challenges was the rebounding period and not having a very big team, a critical aspect for success. The team have also improved their defense tremendously since the beginning of the season,” according to Coach Hill, sophomore forward Cory Johnson and sophomore point guard Rajeet Patel. Geiger would argue that another strong skill of theirs was shooting from the outside.

There were many players on the team whose skills are recognized in not only the team itself, but also the Crestview League. Senior guard and small forward, Jason Francis, is estimated to make 12.7 points per game (ppg), which places him in third place out of all the players in the league. Senior guard, Trevor Geiger is estimated to make 9.8 ppg, placing sixth place in the league. Johnson is estimated to make 9.3 ppg placing eighth place in the league.

Going into the season, the team’s greatest motivation was to “continue being a highly successful program,” according to coach Hill. In Patel’s opinion,“The greatest motivation was to make it a memorable year for the seniors.” Geiger said, “I cannot speak on behalf of the team, but my biggest motivation was the challenge of leaving a good legacy behind.”

“As being a part of the 2016-2017 division 2 state championship basketball team, I learned to always live in the moment and cherish what was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” stated Geiger. His biggest accomplishment this season was scoring 20 points on senior night against Canyon.

This season, the team was filled with many seniors who had been playing together their whole high school career, which brought a better understanding of each other’s playing style. The varsity team also had two sophomores, Johnson and Patel, who are able to continue the success of the seniors for the years to come.

“To be one of the youngest athletes on the team is really cool because I get to learn from the players that have been playing on varsity since last year and I get the experience of playing on the varsity level only as a sophomore,” stated Johnson.

Geiger stated, “I had a great time with other seniors on the team and it was a good experience helping the younger guys on the team. We always knew how to have a fun time throughout the whole season.”

Looking onto the next season, coach Hill stated, “We will lose eight seniors this year, so there will be a lot of new faces, meaning improvement will be key for us as we begin in spring, summer and throughout the fall to prepare.” Patel said, “I’m looking forward to next year with helping to be a leader and taking on a bigger role on the team.”

As the season comes to an end, players will reflect on the many accomplishments and Coach Hill’s motto since 1988 still stands: Quest to be the Best.