Sports: Bosco Basketball Rolling Into CIF Playoffs

by Aeden Alexander, Sports Editor

The St. John Bosco basketball team wrapped up their season, and now turn toward the CIF division one playoffs, where they will face off in round one against Culver City High School.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

The Braves had yet another great year, finishing off with an overall record of 19-8. This resulted in a third-place finish in Trinity League play with a record of 6-3, getting themselves another opportunity at a CIF Championship.

This year for Bosco wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine; it was filled with highs and lows. There were critical moments this season where it looked like the Braves were one of the best in the state, as well as some games where they struggled to find their footing.

They started off the year hot, winning twelve of their first 14 games. But after that, their first roadblock hit them. Right before Trinity League games began Bosco would go on to lose four in a row including their first league matchup with JSerra.

They then got a glimpse of light as they beat Orange Lutheran, but quickly got knocked off their feet losing a crucial game to Santa Margarita on a game-winning buzzer beater shot in overtime. 

But, like always, the Braves didn’t give up, winning two in a row, though they ended up losing a tough game to their league rival, “Team in Red.” With four games remaining in the year, the playoffs were not guaranteed and they needed something to pick their spirits up. They found a spark after senior forward, Christian Estrada hit a game-clinching half-court hook shot. The Braves would then go on and win the last four games clinching them a spot in the playoffs.

“I am proud of where we are at right now. We definitely had some ups and some downs, but we are playing really well at the end. I’m proud of the guys. It’s our year with COVID and all those kinds of things, and we’ve pushed through a lot of adversity. That says a lot to me about this group of guys,” said Head Basketball Coach Matt Dunn.

In recent years, Bosco basketball has played in the CIF Open Division playoffs. But this year, they scrapped to get a spot and ended up being placed in division one playoffs instead.

“Well, the huge difference with division one is if you lose you’re done. So in the Open Division, you get a little cushion and when it comes down to preparing there isn’t really any difference, but there is that feeling of knowing there is no guarantee,” said Coach Dunn.

This season the Braves have had three great leaders, which led them to victory multiple times. Sophomore guard Jack Turner was a standout taking a big leadership role and leading the team in points per game, averaging an astounding 15.6 points. Turner hit many big shots to give the Braves a chance in every game night in and night out.

Not far behind is the “X-factor” for this Braves team, senior Christian Estrada, who averaged 14.3 points per game and led the team in rebounding with 9.3 boards per game. Estrada has always been known to be one of the top players for the Braves and has always been highly respected.

“For these playoffs, we are going to have to stay mentally focused, paying attention to the little things. For example with communicating and supporting each other,” said Estrada. 

The third player to round up the Braves’ trio of leaders is senior point guard D.J. Henry. Henry led the team in assists per game but got hurt toward the end of the season. He is looking to get healthy to win a ring in his final season.

On Friday the Braves will face off against a solid Culver City team who finished 14-7 and second in their league. This will be no cakewalk for the Braves, so they must bring their best game.

“Heading into this game, we need to continue playing well and doing the things we are good at. We have been rebounding and shooting the ball well so we just need to keep doing that, as well as passing the ball around getting everyone involved,” said Turner.

The Braves had many games this season where they think they should have won, and they feel as though these losses might have been because they didn’t take care of the little things. But when the Braves are at their best, they do all the little things correct like grabbing rebounds and boxing out.

This game for the Braves won’t be looked at any different than their others. Their goal stays the same, come in and win by playing hard nose basketball.

“This game is no different, we have been preparing for this game exactly how we prepared for every other game and that’s what will lead us to success,” said Estrada.

The Bosco Braves will tip off at Culver City High School tonight at 7 p.m.

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