Boys varsity recovering from a slump

The boys varsity basketball team is not going down without a fight. With a current record of 3-5 in the De Anza League and 8-12 overall, the team must get a record of 6-6 in their league to qualify for CCS.

The team has five games left in the season, including the last game they played against Mountain View this past Wednesday that resulted in a win.

With the few remaining games left in the season, the boys varsity team have a slim chance of making it to CCS. Given that they are in the De Anza League, which consists of some of the best teams in the area.

Senior captain Joshua Anderson said that initially they thought they were going to be an outstanding team and he said he thinks that they still have a chance to reach that potential.

“The season definitely hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to,” Anderson said. “[However], I definitely think we have the capability of being a great team.”

When the team loses a game and a teammate feels discouraged both Anderson and senior captain Brendan Kane agreed that they have to be the leading voice to uplift their teammates’ spirits so they can do better next game.

However, the team morale has been low, with players not putting 100 percent of their effort into the game because of the initial constant losses, which have now resulted in a narrower chance at qualifying for CCS, Anderson said.

Despite this rocky patch in their season, Kane and Anderson said they are hopeful that the team will pull through and give it their all until it is numerically impossible to continue.

“We are still going to keep fighting everyday,” Anderson said. “I think even though it’s not looking great right now we can definitely turn it around.”

Kane said that the team has been adjusting practices so that they can improve on their offensive and defensive game and do better against these challenging teams.

“If they play a zone defense or a man defense we’ll change and adapt [how we play],” Kane said.

Head coach Shawn Hook said since the team is in their second round of league games they have seen many of the teams before and are confident that they can beat some of the teams that they lost to in close games.

Hook said that with four games left, the varsity team definitely has the capacity to turn this season around. Only three out of their next four games must be won to qualify for CCS, which now seems likely.

“It’s gonna be a hard fight but it’s one that we want and it’s going to be extremely rewarding when we do make CCS,” said Hook. “So I’ll be really happy and proud of [the team].”

Despite valiant efforts, HHS comes up short against LGHS

The boys varsity basketball team played Los Gatos. Although the team put great effort, the game ended with HHS losing 42 to 81.

The first quarter started off slow with LGHS  trailing by five points. They soon caught up and gained a quick 15 point lead.

The rest of the first quarter continued with the HHS falling behind between 15 to 20 points.

The first quarter concluded with LGHS leading 24 to 9 and Homestead having a total of 5 fouls.

The second quarter continued with LGHS continuing their lead over HHS.

LGHS managed to score an additional 15 points while HHS only scored six points ending the second half and homestead trailing behind 39 to 15.

During the third quarter, HHS started to catch up to LGHS scoring a total 18 points. However, towards the end of the third quarter LGHS scored an additional 21 points, ending the third quarter 60 to 33.

The fourth quarter continued with LGHS defense continuing to shut down HHS as the offense only scored nine points. LGHS offense also displayed their superiority over the HHS defense as they scored 21 points.

One notable player from HHS was senior Josh Anderson. Anderson provided excellent coverage and screening when HHS was on offense.

The HHS boys varsity basketball team now has a record of 5 wins and 8 losses.

Boys’ Varsity basketball has much to accomplish this season

After a horrible season two years ago and a decent season the year before, the Mustangs’ boys varsity basketball looks forward to improving from last season.

Unlike last season, the basketball team will be playing in the De Anza League, which is Division One in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, coach Shawn Hook said. Managing to place second and JV placing first has allowed the team to play in an upper league.

The team is also close with one another as they took a retreat up to Ukiah for team building efforts.

“I think [that] we are looking pretty good, our team chemistry is great and [the] team bonding trip to Ukiah definitely brought us close,” senior Frankie Guerrera said.

Despite being in an upper league, Hook and the rest of the team look forward to bringing about a good season and making it to CCS again.

“I just want the juniors to give everything they have and [that] we make it [in]to CCS so the seniors can leave as winners,” Hook said.

Their first game, which is with Terra Nova High School, will be HHS’ third meeting with the school. According to Hook, both teams scored a victory with HHS making an amazing comeback in the second half of the game last season.

“We were down by like 20 and we came back. This year we are going to do the same,” senior Justin Yi said.

Senior Eric Sathy is the captain of the basketball team this year and is hoping to have a good year as well.

“I look forward to the friday night games and I hope we make it to CCS this year,”  Sathy said.

With much to look forward to in the season, each athlete on the team had different aspects of this season they were most looking forward to. Yi stated that he looks forward to Senior Night and looking to get some play time this year.

“The Fremont game is one game I look forward to most,” Guerrera said.

“We want to play the best so Los Gatos, Palo Alto and Cupertino are the top teams in the league, so definitely those,” Hook said.

With a team bond stronger than ever, the Boys’ varsity basketball season hopes to pull off a great season in an upper league.

Under pressure

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fter receiving a first-round bye, the boys basketball team lost their second-round CCS game to Independence High School (IHS) on Friday, Feb. 24.

Prior to Friday’s game, junior guard Eric Sathy said he hoped to get “two or three games out of [CCS].”

Though the game had a slow start, HHS played good defense. However, they were tied with IHS at the end of the first quarter.

“During the second [quarter] we played okay… but we didn’t get enough second chance points at the rim, ” senior forward Dante Johnson said.

Despite being the bigger team, HHS still lacked second chance shots. At the end of the second quarter, IHS had gone up by two.

Halftime allowed HHS to gain back its momentum and start the third quarter strong. Both junior guard Eric Sonobe and Johnson sunk three’s during the third quarter which allowed them to keep the energy of the game on their side.

The fourth quarter was intense and both teams were making good shots. Within one minute left, IHS called a timeout in attempt at stopping the power that HHS had. At around the last five seconds of the game, IHS went for a layup and missed, but another IHS player on the backside of the rim tipped the ball into the hoop.

Despite the loss, Johnson stays positive.

“Basketball is similar to life in the way that one can either step forward into growth or step back into comfort,” Johnson said.

Basketball teams support breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer awareness is not only recognized in October. HHS Cancer Society organized Pink Night in conjunction with the JV and Varsity basketball teams in the big gym on Jan. 27 to support breast cancer awareness.

Players of all teams wore pink shirts saying “United we fight” to show their support for the cause.

Players from other sports said they supported the basketball teams and the unified cause.

“[I came to support my classmates because] they supported me when [they] were watching football, not just me but me team so I gotta come to support,” junior Andrew Odour said.

JV boys basketball captain sophomore Sunny Arattukulam’s grandmother died because of breast cancer, which he said made this event important to him. Arattukulam said he was excited to have this night and have the whole school support them and breast cancer awareness.

“It’s good that everyone comes together to support it, because it encourages people to keep fighting as hard as they can,” Arattukulam said.

Students were very adamant teams should take these opportunities and support the causes as best as they can.

“Breast cancer awareness doesn’t get that much attention, only in October, but we give it in another month too so that’s why [Pink Night] got so much attention.” Odour said.

Toward the end of the event the stands were filled with students from HHS and Saratoga High School, teachers and parents. This event had the best turnout of the whole season at home for all four basketball teams sophomore cheerleader Michelle Bekku said.

Players were glad to see people come to see them and support the night.

“It’s honestly amazing just knowing that people will always have your back, and you just know that you will never be alone. And you’re always going to have some type of support wherever you go, is just a great feeling,” Arattukulam said.

Pink Night was capped off by boys varsity basketball making a second half comeback.

Boys varsity is currently 11-10, boys JV is 18-3, girls varsity is currently 9-12 and girls JV is 14-5.

Boys varsity impresses in first rivalry game

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he boys varsity basketball team collected their fourth league win Friday, Jan. 20 against FHS. Senior Tyler Liston, center and power forward, said prior to big games coach Shawn Hook does not have the boys practice for a specific team, but more for a specific play the other team might run.

Prior to Friday, junior guard Eric Sathy said, “If we play our game, we should be able to win.” Luckily, the team did just that.

The first quarter of the game started off quite slow with the first score being a three pointer by FHS at 6:25. After a few missed free throws from FHS and a blocked lay up by junior Joshua Anderson, the score remained 3-0 at 3:38. Junior Brendan Kane drove to the basket and completed a layup, HHS’ first score of the game, making it 3-2. After a couple more two pointers by FHS, HHS followed 7-2 with 1:30 left in the quarter. HHS’ first three pointer of the game came from junior Eric Sonobe, making the score 7-5. Following more layups and free throws from both teams, FHS lead 9-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter started off with a quick foul against HHS which allowed FHS another free point from a free throw. Junior Justin Yi blocked a shot but fouled the shooter, allowing for more free throws to make the lead 12-7. Succeeding three missed shots by HHS, junior Eric Sathy managed to make a tough two pointer while falling to the ground, making the game 13-9. Followed by a turnover by FHS, Kane made a three pointer with 4:45 left in the quarter. Another turnover by FHS allowed HHS’ 42, Jacob Larry, to complete a layup, giving HHS the lead, 14-13. After some more free throws and a three pointer from HHS’ number 2, Eric Sonobe, HHS ended the quarter leading 23-18.

During the third quarter of the game, HHS’ offense really heated up and allowed for a large lead. More two pointers and free throws gave HHS a ten point lead with 5:10 left in the quarter. Following some blocked shots by HHS, Sathy sunk a three pointer which gave Homestead a 13 point lead with the score 33-20. After some free throws and turnovers, it seemed that FHS was managing to come back, yet more two pointers by Larry and Yi pushed the score back up to 39-27 with 37 seconds left in the quarter. A five second violation by FHS and weak ball handling by HHS ended the quarter at 39-27.

The fourth quarter started off with some quick shots by both sides, making the score 43-30. Following free throws by both teams, Kane made another three pointer and made the score 48-33. After back and forth shots, two HHS turnovers allowed FHS to gain some more points, however the score remained in HHS’ favor at 52-39 with 2:00 left. A couple last two pointers by Larry and Sonobe ended the game with a score of 58-39. The next game against FHS will be a home game on Feb. 10.

As far as postseason goes, the team has already earned themselves a spot in CCS, and Sathy hopes to get “at least two or three games out of it.”

Freshman shines on the field

The girls soccer team lost many upperclassmen last year due to graduating seniors and time committed juniors leaving spots open to fill. According to Maxpreps some of the juniors lost include Isabella Rosado, Margo Thornton, Laura Salvaggio, and Kristina Claras. One of the new four freshman players fulfilling the new task of the younger team is Karinna Gupta.

“We play other teams and a lot of them are mostly upperclassmen so they’re bigger and stronger and a lot are more experienced.” Gupta said.

The team is currently sitting at 4-0 still in preseason and looking to succeed in their upcoming league games.

“It’s been challenging this year playing against such high competition,” Gupta said.

Gupta, like many young players on the team, has felt pressure to compete at a higher level.

“I feel like since you’re a freshman on varsity they expect you to be really good because typically freshman don’t make varsity,” Gupta said.“So there’s that pressure of being as good as the older girls”.

The team has a difficult task and so far seems to be doing well.

“We are young and have a lot of work to do but we are motivated and ready to succeed against bigger, stronger, and more experienced teams.” Gupta said.

The team looks to feed off Gupta’s attitude.

“My goals this season are to continue to play well and to avoid injury,” Gupta said.

Facing extreme adversity the girls soccer team is holding their own and a lot of the credit goes to the newer players including Gupta.

Boys varsity basketball team prepares for season ahead

With 26 total games in the season, 12 of them being league games, the boys varsity basketball team is currently 3-2. The team mostly consists of juniors and seniors, which differs from last years team as it had more variation in grade level.

Junior Eric Sonobe, who has been on varsity since sophomore year, is a shooting guard.

“I play off the ball and I look to shoot,” Sonobe said.

After a week of tryouts, the final team was decided, yet Coach Shawn Hook has not made any players permanent captains because “he has focused on making [all the players] leaders on the court,” senior Dante Johnson said.

Johnson, who is a starting small forward, will typically look to score in the paint along with the power forward, but depending on who their opponent is, they may be playing on the three-point line.

During a typical practice, the team works on fundamentals, basketball IQ, physical endurance and they run through plays, Johnson described.

In general, the team needs to work on their defense and passing, but their scoring and rebounding is good, Sonobe said.

Sonobe also added that he thinks the team should do better than they did last year because they know each other better.

“On defense… I set a lot of screens to get my teammates open for good shots because as long as we get the bucket, it doesn’t matter who scores,” Johnson said.

The biggest game of the season will be against Fremont, but Bellarmine will be tough too, Sonobe said. The two league games against Fremont will take place on Jan. 20 and Feb. 10.

Wrestling team’s four qualifiers lose at CCS

The wrestling team had a strong end to SCVAL championships on the weekend of Feb. 12 and 13 when seven Mustangs qualified for CCS, the largest number in recent years.

“Last time we sent six was 2012, so seven was a lot for our school,” wrestling coach Manny Regidor said.

Although seven qualified for CCS, three dropped out. Only senior captain Elijah McQueen, junior Gerard McCoy and sophomores Dylan Robinson and Joey Coogan wrestled at CCS at Independence High School on Feb 19.

“We were seeded very low as a team and as a league – the SCVAL league,” Regidor said, “so our number one guys were seeded about fifth when they should’ve been first.”

Each Mustang lost his match within the first round, bringing the competition season to its official close.

“A big issue this year was mentality, and so that was the big thing that they definitely improved on,” Regidor said. “They knew the technique, they knew how to drill, they knew what to do in a wrestling match, but some matches their head wasn’t quite in it as much as the other ones.”

Regidor said “half of wrestling is a mental game” and that a wrestler’s ability to be mentally strong is as important as their physical strength.

“Halfway through the season, I started working on their mental toughness,” Regidor said, “building up their confidence so when they go into a match they already go in confident enough that they already know they’re gonna win.”

This has been the school’s largest team in past 10 years, ending the season with a total of 24 wrestlers. Many of the wrestlers can be expected to return next year except McQueen, who is a senior.

“Next year would be a good time for the team to move up into the upper division because a lot of the [other] teams will be weaker,” Regidor said. “We should definitely send more people to CCS for next year because only one of them was a senior [this year] so I predict either seven to nine wrestler to make it to CCS next year.”

Boys varsity soccer prepares for upcoming season

As the new soccer season approaches, the varsity boys soccer team has assembled and is working hard in preparation for a successful season.

With tryouts ending just one month ago, the team hopes to get to know their new teammates as well as unique strategies developed by the coach for this specific group of players. With a new team and game plans developed for these players, the team hopes to test themselves and see how well they can do this season.

“Since this is my first year on the school team, I’m really excited to see how the team compares with club soccer,” junior Ian Chinn said. “ It’s definitely fun to play on the same team with all your classmates.”

As for the junior varsity team, a majority of the players also play club soccer, and are joining the school team during this winter season as the club soccer season ends.

“The [varsity] team is far more competitive than the junior varsity team,” junior Eren Karaaslan said. “More is expected of each player in terms of skill and energy. I’m hopeful that we can advance really far together this season, since the team is really well-balanced.”

With just one game out of the way, a 1-0 victory against Los Gatos, the team is excited for the season ahead, Karaaslan said.