Varsity boys basketball triumphs over Rowland High School

Bruce Nguyen, Staff writer

Varsity boys basketball defeated Rowland’s Raiders on Wednesday, Jan. 25, ending the game with a score of 77-48 points. Point guard senior Malik Khouzam broke Walnut’s record for most 3-pointers made in a single season, and thus helped bring up the team’s league score to eight wins and one loss. 

The game begins with Walnut taking the advantage of the jump ball, then scoring the first points of the game. At first the Mustangs’ pressure gave them a solid lead against Rowland, ending the first quarter with a score of 19-9, Walnut.

“Honestly, we should have gotten a bigger lead in the first half but [our team wasn’t] warmed up,” point guard junior Josh Magno said. “My block in the first quarter and the times I scored a bit towards the end [made] the game more memorable.”

The Mustangs took the early lead going into the second quarter. Khouzam scored multiple times while also assisting his teammates.. The first half ended with a score of 38-27, as well as a new Walnut High record broken.

“The first and second were the [better quarters]. I was getting good threes and steals and also had a good block,” Khouzam said. “[It] feels good [to beat the record]. It was all hard work, more than anything else and it took me a couple years to beat it.”

The record for the most 3-pointers in a single season was originally set by Ricardo Watkins, who set the record in 1997 with 83 3-pointers in a season. While Khouzam broke it with 85 3-pointers, and with the season not over until the third February, Khouzam can still widen the gap of his record and the previous record.

After the halftime show presented by the Dance Team and majorette, the Mustangs came into the third quarter with a strong desire to win, and it showed as Walnut held a strong defensive position, allowing them to pull far ahead in scoring against Rowland. They finished the third quarter with a score of 60-34.

“I feel we played good defense and did well offensively. I feel like we all had a lot of solid blocks,” guard senior Christian Aquino said. “I think the whole game we had our adrenaline up. We were locked in and [that’s when] we really pulled away and won the game.”

In the final quarter of the game, Mustangs overwhelmed the Raiders with multiple offensive rebounds. Walnut pulled even farther ahead, preventing Rowland from catching up in the last minutes of the game. The game ended with a score of 77-48, Walnut.

“I felt like we had mental lapses early and we let [Rowland] back into the game,” head coach Joe Khouzam said. “

We played defense the right way, we shared the ball, we made some shots and we played better together [so] we did a lot better in general.

— head coach Joe Khouzam