Carlmont boys varsity basketball defeats Priory in first game of the season

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Sydney O'Donnell

Junior Ben Lefer (No. 24) defends against an inbound pass.

The squeaking of basketball sneakers and the bright, glaring lights of the gymnasium fill the spectators’ eyes and ears. The room goes quiet, followed by immense cheering and clapping in the stands. Basketball season is back. Carlmont just won their first game. 

In the first game of the season and the official sportsmanship game, varsity boys basketball won against the Woodside Priory Panthers with a final score of 52-51. The game occurred on Thursday, Nov. 18 at Woodside Priory School. 

Going into the game, the team expected to win, and head coach Ron Ozorio expressed his outlook on the coming season and what’s in store for them. 

“We have high expectations [for the upcoming season]. We should be contending for a PAL championship this year even though most of our team is juniors. We have high hopes — CCS, the whole thing. We’re super excited,” Ozorio said. 

We have high expectations [for the coming season].”

— Coach Ron Ozorio

As predicted, the team lived up to their expectations and won the game, but not without a lot of hard work and fight. 

The Scots started the game off strong with junior Nate Wong scoring the first two points. The first quarter continued with strong defense from both teams, making shooting difficult.

In the second quarter, the speed of the game started to pick up. The Panthers maintained a slim lead throughout almost the entirety of the quarter, leading to Priory being up 30-25 at halftime.

Throughout the game, there was an emphasis on sportsmanship, which materialized through opposing players helping each other up from falls.

Many of the players on the varsity team are juniors. (Sydney O’Donnell)

Mounting a comeback, Carlmont started to catch up to Priory in the third quarter through several free throw shots from junior Trent Corteway and three-pointers from players like juniors Lucas Vigil and Matthew Abiezzi. The quarter ended with a score of 44-43 with the Scots in the lead.

Strong defense defined the final quarter, making scoring almost impossible. A timeout took place with five minutes and 51 seconds left in the game. At that point, the Panthers led 46-43.

Carlmont put their head in the game and brought the score up to 49-46 with just minutes left in the game. Tension in the room from the competitive playing encouraged an abundance of cheers after every point made. 

With just thirty seconds left in the game, Vigil shot a three-pointer, bringing the score to 52-51. No other shots were made, with Carlmont emerging victorious.

Though the team did win, criticism was just as present as elation. Players and coaches had several self-critiques on the playing of the game. 

“It’s our first game of the year so there were lots of mistakes, lots of missed free throws. Free throws are super important. We probably shot 20% from the free-throw line so we got to improve on that,” Ozorio said.

When asked to talk about the game, a few players offered their opinions.

“I think at the beginning of the game, especially in the first quarter we played slower than we usually are and how we usually play but in the second half, we started to pick it up and get some momentum especially from our point guards Nate and Lucas. They carried the ball for us and set that momentum and that kind of carried on for us getting the win,” Abiezzi said. 

Along with this commentary, other players paid attention to the team dynamic and positives of the game. 

“We work very hard and our coaches set high expectations for us and push us to the max. We help each other up and when we’re down we push each other to the max,” Vigil said. 

Team chemistry contributed to the success of the game, according to multiple players such as junior Ben Lefer. 

“As a team, since we’ve been playing for a while — we know each other’s attributes to be able to win games and be successful during the season and moving forward,” Lefer said. 

Though losing to a close game, Priory players still held pride in the way that they played, especially in regards to sportsmanship. 

“Even when we lose, we still have fun,” said Priory player Rostand Olama.