It was a very competitive battle between both schools, San Gabriel High School (SGHS) and Diamond Bar High School (DBHS) with the Matadors taking the victory. The gym was filled with familiar faces as friends and family show their support for both schools throughout the game. San Gabriel boys varsity basketball team went head to head against Diamond Bar, home of the Grahams, for a tournament hosted at Don Bosco Tech for their preseason.
The first quarter commenced as the Matadors won the tip off with junior point guard Alan Ta attacking the basket for an easy layup. Matadors played strong on the offensive end throughout the quarter with multiple three-pointers electrifying San Gabriel’s players on the bench and the crowd. They certainly gave their best on the defensive end giving the Grahams a difficult time to score. However, the Matadors consistently fouled the opposing team, giving the Grahams many points from the free throw line. But that did not stop them from fighting back, with senior captain and small forward Jarett Tan finishing the quarter splashing yet another three-pointer with the Matadors leading by seven points with the score of 21-13.
The Matadors began slowing down in the second quarter with both teams consecutively fouling each other and the Grahams finding their rhythm catching up to the Matadors. The Grahams played the quarter by constantly attacking the basket drawing many Matador fouls. Although the Grahams finally took the lead at 33-31, the Matadors could not let the Grahams build up their lead. San Gabriel gave it their all attempting to take charges and steal the ball defensively, while offensively they were sharing the ball with each other looking for open looks outside and in the paint. The quarter comes to an end with senior small forward Preston Sayavong going up for the tough layup and converts for an and one with the 41-33 Matador lead.
The Matadors knew they needed a stronger and smart defensive mindset as they entered the second half. Unlike the first half with multiple outside shots, the Matadors penetrated the Grahams’ defenses, aggressively attacking the basket and looking for easy points under the basket. The Grahams were slowly catching up to the Matadors with the score of 48-40. But the Matadors are not letting the Grahams catch up easily, as Tan sprints down the court and marvelously blocks an easy looking layup from the Grahams.
As the last and final fourth quarter came along, the Grahams gave the Matadors a battle, tying them with the score of 53-53. It was a nail-biting quarter as both teams went back and forth in a four-point deficit. Although the Grahams played tight defense, it did not stop the Matadors from finding easy ways to score with Tan showing his impressive ball handles driving in the basket along with senior Andy Chen battling on the post. The score came down to 63-60 with 10 seconds left on the clock. The Grahams had possession of the ball as they kept pulling up for three-pointers and gathering the offensive rebounds. However, the Matadors steals the offensive board and gets fouled with only a second remaining. Chen seals the game knocking down both free throws, giving the Matadors the five point victory at 65-60.
Although San Gabriel were named victorious, Ta believes that there is still some room for improvement for the team to work on for upcoming games. “We need to limit our turnovers. We could be better on defense at times.” Ta said. “Our goal is to make it to the playoffs. We can achieve this by focusing in practice to better execute our plays.”