Boys basketball trumps Dons

Sarah Menendez, Editor-in-Chief

The boys’ varsity basketball team clashed against the Dominguez Dons and came out with a victory in the third league game on Jan 19 with the score of 50-47. Last season the Don’s basketball coach was wrapped up in a lawsuit that forced him to step down from coaching and teaching before the 09-10 league games began. According to the L.A. Times, their coach left behind a legacy that led the Dons to five state championships and 10 CIF Southern Section titles within his 20 years of coaching. Prior to the Dominguez scandal, Downey’s varsity team hadn’t beaten the Dons in a league game in over six years. However, times have changed and the boys’ basketball team has become the new juggernaut in the San Gabriel Valley League with an overall season record of 19-2.

Though Dominguez was missing five of its players, they still came ready to play and opened up the game with the first field goal. Downey came out with a 2-2-1 press and forced a few turnovers from the Dons and gave the Vikes easy buckets in transition. The aggressive defense from Downey only allowed Dominguez to score less than 10 points in the first quarter, which gave the Vikes a comfortable lead going into the second period.

Core elements of the Vikings win were the constant possession of the ball and the lack of fouls obtained. Downey’s full court press forced Dominguez to work harder to get the ball into a position where they could score. This shaved off a few seconds from the shot clock and gave the Don’s offense less time to take an optimum shot. Dominguez didn’t allow very many easy shots as Downey earned most of its points close to the key.

Offensive and defensive penalties quickly resulted in free throw attempts. Fouls were a problem for both teams as Downey ended the first quarter with seven team fouls, while Dominguez already had eight. Aggressive defense without being penalized proved to be a moderate setback for both squads.

Losing to Dominguez became a definite possibility at the end of the third quarter. Downey’s cushioned lead turned into a four point advantage with one more quarter left in the game. Most of the quarter went back and forth between the two teams. The Vikings made some crucial shots to maintain their lead over the Dons, but the quarter came down to solid defense. Both teams were in foul trouble, so the players had to be wary; any minor discrepancy sent the opponent to the free throw line for easy points.

With 4.4 seconds left, Dominguez sank a three-pointer, leaving the Vikes to a merely a three point lead. The only thing Downey had to do to win was inbound the ball, but junior Vincent Quigg was called for holding and he sent the Dominguez defender to the free throw line. Quiet anxiety set in as the defender made the first free throw, but missed the second. Junior Garrett Neilan grabbed the rebound and was fouled immediately. He made one out of the two free throws and iced the victory over the Dons.

The boys went on to defeat Lynwood with a score of 63-53 and Calvary Chapel with a score of 65-39.