Varsity boys basketball defeats Diamond Bar

Ryan Lam, Staff writer

Boys varsity basketball won a rematch game against Diamond Bar Friday, Jan. 20. 

The game started with Diamond Bar scoring consecutive buckets, leading against the Mustangs 3-5. As the shot clock began to tick, the Mustangs retook the lead, scoring multiple layups and gaining a 6-point lead. The first quarter ended with 23 points for Walnut and 17 for Diamond Bar.

“[After the first quarter], I felt confident in my abilities to shoot and score. It felt good knowing I was able to pass the ball to my teammates for a pick and roll,” point guard senior Malik Khouzam said. “Maintaining the lead [in the first quarter] made everyone on the team feel good since we wanted revenge for our first defeat on their court.” 

Following the first quarter, Walnut continued to play together in the second quarter, holding down the offense and retrieving defensive rebounds. The Mustangs forced Diamond Bar into several fouls, allowing the boys to maintain their early lead, 42-39.

Malik’s and-one three-pointer was crazy to see in person, and our active push to prevent Diamond Bar from scoring at the end brought [us] closer together.

— Gavin Ibrahim


“[In] the second quarter, I thought we played together really well since we held a firm yet consistent defensive line. The crowd cheering us on definitely helped the boys [play] better,” basketball coach Joe Khouzam said. “I feel that the team chemistry is fantastic and energetic. However, we just need to keep getting better at handling and taking care of the ball.” 

In the third quarter, Diamond Bar started to gain momentum, making two three-point shots in a row and taking advantage of the Mustangs’ turnovers. Walnut slowly began to make their comeback, forcing contested shots, 52-57. Entering the fourth quarter, Khouzam made an instant four-point play, sparking cheers within the gymnasium. The Mustangs gained an 8-point lead following successive blocks and steals on Diamond Bar. Walnut finished the game with 67 points, while Diamond Bar had 59. 

“The fourth quarter was [our] team’s best quarter since we were able to really incorporate our excitement and make good plays that gave each other easy openings to score,” shooting guard senior Gavin Ibrahim said.