Boys basketball loses to John Muir

Varsity boys basketball lost 50-62 against John Muir in a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) quarterfinal game on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at home.

Muir outscored Walnut 17-11 in the first quarter. Forward senior Dane Johannsen scored a two-point field goal and made two free throws for a total of four first quarter points.

“Their size was a lot to handle [early on], which led to turnovers,”Johannsen said. “We had to adjust our whole defense to counter the size and shooters. We also tried to space the floor so we could attack them and get open looks.”

Shooting guard senior Agassi Goantara scored seven of Walnut’s 15 second quarter points. Walnut made all four of it’s free throws and forward senior Eric Lu made two two-point field goals. At the end of the half, Walnut trailed 36-26.

“It was all about getting defensive stops and about transitions because they had some pretty big players,” Goantara said. “They were pretty slow on defense, so we had to push the ball forward with pace.”

Walnut scored three three-point field goals and four two-point field goals in the third quarter for a total of 17 points, with point guard junior Noah Leal scoring two of the three 3-pointers. In the last fifteen seconds of the quarter, Leal made a 3-pointer to cut Muir’s lead to five points, ending the quarter 43-48.

“I was excited [after making that three]. I had a lot of energy after that and [so did] everybody else. We were ready to make the run [to win],” Leal said.“The energy was great; the bench was great. We just tried to stay focused; everyone just wanted to win.”

In the fourth quarter, Muir limited Walnut to seven points, ending the game 50-62. This was the third time in four years that the Walnut boys basketball program has made it to the CIF quarterfinals, and the fifth year in a row that Walnut has ended its season with 20 wins.

“The brothers I made on this team, they are amazing, and I will miss playing with them,” Johannsen said. “I have learned that the more you put in the more you get out. With the guys, you play hard [and] they play hard too. You build bonds, [and] you build a team.”

By Bhalpriya Sandhu, Sports Editor
Photo by Isaac Le

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