SIS varsity basketball teams lose championship title amid undefeated season

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Jennifer Kwon, Copy Editor

The SIS varsity basketball teams participated in the KAIAC tournament on Feb. 18-19, with the girls at SIS and the boys at SFS both placing second. 

The two teams dominated the court, defeating their opponents each game by an average of 20 and 30 points respectively. They entered the KAIAC tournament as the no.1 seed with an undefeated record of 5-0. 

“Going into this year’s season, we wanted to go undefeated and win first place,” Asuka Kurebayashi, co-captain of the girls varsity basketball team, said. “We knew SFS and TCIS would be our toughest opponents, and it was important for us to place as the no.1 seed to maximize our chance of winning the title.” 

In preparation for the big day, the girls analyzed their opponents’ offensive and defensive strategies and practiced maneuvering the ball around the court while minimizing turnovers. Similarly, the boys worked on their defense by practicing both the 3-2 zone and man-to-man defensive schemes. 

 Both teams stuck to their game plan and easily entered the finals, with the girls defeating YISS by a double-score of 45-23 and the boys beating Chadwick by 62-43.  

Despite their best efforts, however, both teams fell short at the finals. The boys played well with a 30 point lead in the first half against SFS. But, at the end of third quarter, SFS player Keahi Brumsickle (11) made a buzzer beater three from the half court line, increasing their one-point lead into a four-point one. From there, the Tigers never recovered as the Crusaders played good defense and prevented any come-back runs.

“Our team thought we would definitely beat SFS,” Ashton Kim (11), varsity basketball player, said. “We won them twice before with a 10-point lead, so we were chilling. Our strategy was to focus on guarding number 23 while hustling back on fast breaks, but SFS players kept hitting bank threes when we were on the run. Nobody in our team expected to come out of this game with a loss, but we were unlucky as we kept missing our shots. Either way, I look forward to crushing them next time.” 

The girls faced a similar situation. When they went against SFS in January, they won by a 10-point lead of 39-22 and found multiple ways to maneuver through their opponent’s 2-3 zone defense. As a result, the team went into the game expecting a win.  

By the end of first quarter in the finals, SIS was leading the game by double-score after Katherine Suk (12) hit a buzzer beater. But, SFS player Alaina Smith (12) followed up and drained multiple threes during the second and third quarter, quickly catching up and closing the gap.

“We were very unlucky,” Savina Kim (11), girls varsity basketball player, said. “During the second half of the game, none of our three-pointers or free throws went in, and their moving-screen was allowing Alaina to bank shots. Although we lost to SFS by two points and were unable to maintain our undefeated streak, this loss has motivated us to work even harder during the off-season.”