The varsity basketball team began the regular season with the Rose City Roundball Classic Tournament which lasted from Nov. 27-29. The team, led by Head Coach Jamal Adams ‘90, played two games from Monday to Wednesday and finished with a record of 2-0.
Last year’s varsity team, which finished with an overall record of 19-10, was knocked out of the CIF playoffs in the semifinals by Harvard-Westlake. This year, the Cubs look to improve upon their record with a team of fresh faces.
On Monday, Nov. 27, the team had their season opening game against Carnegie Hall. The starting lineup consisted only of juniors: guard Mason Butler, guard Neil Owens, forward Anthony Lucenti, shooting guard CJ Jones, and forward James Keefe. Although they were only up by two at the end of the half, the Cubs pulled out a win with a score of 66-53, advancing to the quarterfinals.
In the third quarter, the Cubs defense was able to hold their opponent to only four points.
Junior shooting guard CJ Jones led the Cubs to victory, scoring 22 points. Jones said, “Carnegie played zone the whole game which allowed me to get a lot of open shots on the perimeter. Also, they were not a transition team so we just had to rebound and push the ball up the floor for some easy points.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 29th, the varsity squad competed in their second game of the tournament against Cajon, a fast-paced and aggressive team. The Cubs won the match with a score of 69-55. Junior forward James Keefe was pleased with the Cubs’ performance.
“We rebounded the ball really well and had great ball movement to get high percentage shots. Also, we had zero turnovers in the fourth quarter to finish off the game,” Keefe said.
Following the win against Cajon, the team moves on to play Pasadena High School, which is projected to be the fourth best team in the state of California.
Adams said, “I think we have the talent to play with anybody. It comes down to whether or not we can keep our composure in the moments of battle and play good basketball like we practice”
The Cubs will conclude their play in the tournament with semifinals and possibly final games tonight and tomorrow, Dec. 2.
As well as their tournament this week, the varsity team scrimmaged Santa Monica High School on Nov. 21. The two teams did not keep score, and the Loyola players used this game to warm up for the official season.
Jones said, “Last week we were able to get all of our nervousness out, and we were really able to go out and hoop, proving to ourselves that we are indeed a good team.”
The team’s next tournament is the Beverly Hills Tournament at Beverly Hills High School from Dec. 6-9. This tournament is considered as one of the hardest competitions in December, and the Cubs have won it multiple times in previous years.
Adams said, “We play a very difficult December schedule so we can figure out what we need to work on. Our league is unbelievably good, if not one of the top three leagues in the state. I emphasize to the guys that every practice is an opportunity to sharpen our blade, so that when it is time to play with precision we can do so effectively.”