By Jack Rothman
The varsity basketball team is off to a 6-2 start to their season, following the conclusion of two tournaments, the El Segundo tournament on Saturday, Dec. 6, and the 75th annual Beverly Hills High Basketball tournament on Saturday, Dec. 12.
In the months before the start of their season, the Cubs worked to build team unity and strength, according to senior center Henry Welsh, who has recently committed to play basketball at Harvard University next year.
The Cubs finished second at the El Segundo tournament with a 93-37 win over Rancho Dominguez; 80-42 win over El Segundo; and 77-60 win over Venice before falling to Fairfax 58-44 in the championship game of the tournament.
The Cubs then finished fifth in their second tournament of the season, the 75th Annual Beverly Hills High Basketball tournament. On Dec. 7, the team beat Crossroads 59-48, with senior Josh Lavergne leading the Cubs with 18 points. The Cubs then lost to George Washington Prep 57-49 on Dec. 9. The team bounced back from that loss with a 47-42 win over tournament host Beverly Hills on Dec. 11. The Cubs concluded their tournament play with a 64-42 win against Windward, placing them fifth overall on Saturday, Dec. 12.
As the season progresses, the Cubs are continuing to building upon their team chemistry and maturity to ensure positive outcomes in their games. Welsh said, “Our goal this year is to grow into the best team that we can be. We have taken major steps in that direction in terms of competitiveness, maturity, and team chemistry, and I believe that the epitome of this team’s potential will result in a chance for us to compete not only for a Mission League Title, but also for a Section State Championship.”
The varsity team’s goal is to grow together not only as a team but also as a family. Head coach Jamal Adams ‘90 said, “One of the things I highlight as a coach to my players is about building family and that hoops is a community game.”
Coach Adam’s message was well received by Welsh, who said, “From a disconnected group of guys, we have developed into a unified team that gets along well and competes for each other on a daily basis. It’s really a testament to the coaching staff that has given us opportunities, such as our Basketball Retreat, to grow together as one family.”
With high hopes for the season, junior Kyle Reece, said, “We have a very young but talented team that wants to be great. We put the work in, and now it’s go time.”
Welsh also believes the team has a lot of potential, saying, “The sky’s the limit for a talented group of young men that play with their hearts out for each other, and I think that’s what we are growing into.”
Mission League play will begin after the holidays on Wednesday, Jan. 6, against Chaminade at home. According to Eric Sondheimer from the LA Times, the Mission League is expected to be very competitive this year with reigning champions Alemany returning some of their top players from last year’s team, including last year’s Mission League MVP point guard Shacquille Dawkins ‘16.
Before the season officially began, Loyola hosted the 36th annual Alumni Basketball Game on Wednesday, Nov. 25, in Leavy Gym. The game consisted of alumni who graduated after 2005 against the varsity basketball team.
Started in 1979, this annual event serves as a great way for basketball alumni to come back to Loyola and reconnect with their fellow Cubs. Kenneth Wilson ‘08, now a disc jockey, said, “Speaking on behalf of all the alums, I would definitely say that this Basketball Alumni Game really brings back memories and reminds us that Loyola basketball is so much more than a game; it’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself and growing up to be a selfless young man.”
Junior Khristion Courseault said, “This game gives us the chance to have fun and share memories with the alumni, but it is also serves as an exciting alternative to our regular season practices.”
Garryl Bohanon ‘07, who participated for his eighth time and is now a recording engineer, said, “All of us alums are always excited to come back and play in this Alumni Basketball Game because it gives us the chance to remember the feeling of being a cub.” Not only does this annual alumni basketball game bring joy to the alums according to Bohannon, but it also allows the varsity team to get some extra in-game practice for their season.
The Cubs’ next game will be against an undetermined opponent in the #D1Bound Southern California Classic on Saturday, Dec. 26, at Cathedral High School.