New contenders on the court

Freshmen athletes reflect on first basketball season

Shooting guard, freshman Joshua Lim said he feels unstoppable when playing basketball. (Photo courtesy of Edmond Kwong)

Earning a spot on the boys basketball team is no easy feat, especially given the popularity of the sport at school, frosh-soph coach Kala Wong said. Yet, this year, a handful of freshmen rose to the challenge and landed themselves a spot on the team.

Shooting guard Matthew Leung, who has been playing basketball for nine years, is one of these freshmen. Leung said he enjoys basketball because it is a team sport that allows him to meet new players and form new friendships. As a new member, Leung said he wanted to become a stronger player, while also having fun — two goals he achieved by the end of the season.

Like Leung, freshman Aarav Shah said he values the versatility of the sport, and decided to try out for the team this year. The tryout process, which spanned three weeks, was initially nerve-wracking, but the athlete said he quickly gained confidence in his abilities. Although the coach made numerous cuts to the pool of athletes, he earned a spot on the team and now plays as a shooting guard.

Leung said the coach only took four or five freshmen, compared to 10 or 11 sophomores.

“Although I stopped playing club basketball, I think my previous training helped me stand out from the other athletes in tryouts,” Leung said. 

Both Shah and his teammate, freshman Joshua Lim, said they were looking forward to competing in games. Lim, also a shooting guard, was originally aiming to score 10 points per game, he said. Although he was unable to achieve this goal, he said he still takes pride in his greatest accomplishment: scoring 16 points in a single game against Saratoga High School during preseason.

“One challenge I faced was I kept losing confidence in myself,” Lim said. “I was able to overcome that by focusing on becoming my best self.”

At the beginning of the season, Shah was on vacation for three weeks, which hindered his progress and left him behind. However, like Lim, he said he was determined to continue practicing and overcome this obstacle.

“My greatest accomplishment is [going] from one of the farthest bench players to becoming a starter in one season,” Shah said.

Looking toward the future, Leung said he is excited to continue playing with his teammates, who grew closer to him over the course of the season. Next year, both Lim and Shah said they are set on becoming team captain. 

After months of hard work, Leung, Lim and Shah all said being the only few freshmen on the team made their bond strong.

“​​The best memory of the season is when we went to Top Golf to hang out for two hours,” Leung said, “We got to order whatever food, and it was fun to spend time with the whole team.”