Despite a rough start, the boys basketball team (13-9 overall, 7-4 Peninsula Athletic League) defeated Hillsdale (15-8 overall, 4-7 PAL) 59-45 on Feb. 9 to extend their win streak to six games.
“We always come at it again with our high intensity, and I feel like we came out with a lot of energy,” said senior point guard Donaven Robinson. “[My teammates] got me open and got me to the right place at the right time.”
The Dons were able to take a 13-point lead by the beginning of the second quarter.
“That energy, I haven’t seen it like that all year, and I was really proud of them,” said head coach Hosea Patton. “The kids showed that they’re still in it together. They kept their composure, and hung in there.”
The Dons got themselves into foul trouble, as Hillsdale was awarded 18 free throws during the game.
“Hillsdale came out really aggressive,” Patton said. “[Hillsdale] got favorable calls. There’s not much we can do but try to adjust and have our guys start moving their feet instead of reaching with their hands.”
This season, the team has seen an influx of fresh, if slightly unpolished, talent.
“I’ve got 10 seniors that have been here, part of the team,” Patton said. “Also three juniors and three sophomores, and with that group, I also have three transfers from other schools.”
However, Patton has been using this abundance of seniors to his advantage, with the team adopting a new “buddy system” to improve team chemistry.
“Each week we have them switch out,” he said. “[I] put my upper class seniors with juniors and sophomores to help them get to know each other.”
The Dons also have a weekly potluck to further develop their bonds.
“[It’s] a good way for the boys to hang out after basketball, just to eat and clown around and play video games on the phone and all that good old stuff,” Patton said.
This new strategy has drawn positive reactions from the players.
“The potluck really allows us to get together and really talk to each other,” said senior guard Tommy Cheang. “It allows us to get on the court and remember to play for each other, not just ourselves.”
The Dons have had several key victories, including a 45-44 victory against Menlo-Atherton on Jan. 24 and a 46-40 against previously undefeated Mills.
“We came out with our energy, better intensity, and we played as each other and we got together to play as one,” Robinson said. “We got the [win] against [Menlo-Atherton], and that will allow us to get buckets.”
One of main problems for the Dons is their defense, which was highlighted in a 78-43 loss to Sequoia on Jan. 16.
“The biggest improvement we’ve seen so far has been trying to get more focused on the defensive end,” Cheang said. “[We’re] making sure that guys are in the right spots, and willing to play defense, and looking to stop their man.”
Up next, the Dons will take on Carlmont (10-13 overall, 4-7 PAL) on Feb. 13.