Boys basketball defeats Charter Oak

Varsity boys basketball defeated Charter Oak 56-48 in its last home league game during Senior Night Thursday, Feb. 6, placing 29 in Division 2AA.

Point guard freshman Malik Khouzam dominated in offense, scoring a total of 17 points, and forward senior Isa Al Juraishi also dominated, scoring a total of 16 points. Guard senior Ryan Victorio and point guard senior Caleb Santos both scored a total of four points and had 12 assists.

Within the first two minutes of the game, the Mustangs scored four points with one two-point shot and two free-throws. The Chargers scored a two-point shot less than a minute later. Walnut responded with Victorio scoring two points after an assist from Santos. With ten seconds remaining, Khouzam scored a jump shot, ending the first quarter 12-9.

“Coming into the game, the atmosphere was really energetic and nice,” Santos said. “I felt really good. It was Senior Night, so it was special for me to play with my teammates for one of the last times. It’s a moment I won’t forget.”

In the second quarter, the Mustangs scored first after a two-point shot by Victorio. Khouzam extended the Mustangs’ lead to eight points with a three-point play after being fouled while making a layup. The Chargers followed up by making a two-point shot and a three-point shot. With three seconds remaining, Khouzam made two free throws to end the half 26-18.

“I felt proud of myself because this was my last game, so it felt good to be there,” shooting guard senior Cyrus Tesoro said. “We have improved more with our passing and defense.”

Within the opening four minutes of the third quarter, Khouzam, guard sophomore Ryan Win and Al Juraishi each scored three-pointers. After an assist from forward-center junior Christian Viramontes, Al Juraishi made his second three-pointer, extending the Mustangs’ lead 42-28. With a minute left, Win made his second free throw, giving Walnut a 15-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

“I felt nervous because there were a lot of people there, but after I started playing I felt better,” Viramontes said. “I felt relieved because going into the game I was scared we would lose but after I felt good because we were winning.”

During the fourth quarter, Charter Oak made one free throw, two two-point shots and a three-pointer to bring the game to 45-34. Al Juraishi made a three-pointer after an assist from Santos. Later in the quarter, the Chargers made four free throws, two two-point shots and a three-point shot, decreasing the Mustangs’ lead to three points. Within the last 30 seconds of the game, Khouzam made a three-pointer. Viramontes made his second free throw, ending the game 56-48.

“I started the game out bad, but I ended good,” Khouzam said. “I hit a [three-pointer] at the end of the game to seal the game for us. I felt good because after that, I knew we were going to win for sure.”

For Senior Night, a ceremony was held for senior players at the beginning of the game. The senior players names were called and their family members took photos with them and handed them flowers.

“Senior night was a success,” Victorio said. “We won and there was good energy throughout the game. My favorite part about senior night was the [ceremony] in the beginning where they introduced the seniors. It was a fun experience.”

By Sajjan Sandhu, Staff writer
Photo by Tristan Gonzalez