Boys’ basketball moves on in CIF

Win or go home. That was the mindset of the game.

Small forward junior Dwight Ramos scored 21 points, and grabbed 16 rebounds to help Boys’ Basketball defeat the Mayfair Monsoons, 84-65 in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Boys Basketball game on Tuesday Feb. 24 at home.

Behind Ramos, point guard senior Zuri Williams trailed with an all around performance: 19 points, six rebounds and four steals. In addition, shooting guard senior Jefferey Huang racked up 15 points, while center senior Ryan Herrera dropped 11.

“I think we played great team basketball. We were on fire for shooting and we fed the hot hand. We dominated offensively and defensively. We moved the ball really well. We spreaded the court and attacked the gaps. We exposed the player for each mix matches we had,” power forward senior Ben Lundblade said.

Both teams came exchanging baskets, but the Mustangs took advantage of its ball movement to make a lead, allowing four Walnut players to scratch first. On the other side, Walnut struggled to contain Mayfair’s point guard senior Kendall Small, allowing him nine points ending the quarter 24-16.

“During the game, I was pumped up and really into it because the crowd was just so good on Tuesday. It really helped with the energy of the team. Fans are so important because they give you that extra boost of energy that we want to have. Just hearing them cheer for you gives you that confidence in basketball; and a lot of basketball is mental, so having that confidence is really important,” small forward senior Craig Chavez said.

In the second quarter, the Mustangs kept with consistent defense holding the Monsoons to only 14 points and forced four turnovers. On the offensive side, Walnut was only able to score 15 points to stretch its lead 39-30.

“For the intensity level, I felt like once we start the game we had to come off hot and keep it up throughout the whole game because it was win or go home. Our early lead gave us more of a cushion, so if we made a few mistakes it wouldn’t be that bad and we would still have the lead,” point guard senior Jherric Requinto said.

The Monsoons couldn’t contain the Mustangs in the third, allowing a Mustang 14-5 run with Ramos leading it with 10. Close to the end of the quarter, Mayfair’s key player Small had to exit the game for fouling out, leaving the game with 23 points. Walnut ended with a comfortable lead of 63-38.

“Kendall Small is a really good player. He was driving a lot which caused us to foul him a lot. He was really strong and was able to get in the paint really easily. Once he got to the free throw line, it gave him most of his points. But we were able to stop his jump shot, which was pretty good,” shooting guard senior Miguel Buencamino said.

Now with Mayfair’s best player out of the game, the Mustangs took full control of the fourth.

Continuing the offensive drive and back to back 3-pointers, the Mustang’s lead went up as much as 28 points, 79-51, in the fourth quarter. With a comfortable lead it sealed the game, 84-65.

“I’m so glad to be part of this family. There’s guys like Zuri, Jefferey and the rest of them. They’re really fun to play and be with. It amazing to watch and be part of the team,” Buencamino said.

The Boys’ Basketball will now be preparing to play first seed Loyola High School in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section on Friday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. on the road.

By Jeffrey Tran, Staff Writer

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