Downey High Varsity Boys Basketball Defeats Warren

Kailani Fletcher, Writer

Students, faculty, and parents all came together in Downey High’s Gym to watch their Viking Basketball players go up against Warren on January 19, 2022. This highly anticipated game brought out a fuller crowd than both teams were used to due to the current rise of Covid cases in the LA county area. “Especially in these times, we haven’t had a full crowd. I think the energy of the crowd will influence us a little bit,”  four-year Senior Alex Hernandez predicted. “But we will be more focused on the game and making plays. We treat every game the same.” 


The momentum of the game stayed with the Vikings for the first half. Downey was on the board first after a clean lay-up by Marcus Sanchez, 11. The boys came out strong with multiple crucial plays made by Junior Jacob Topete, Junior Alvin Verdugo, Junior Jathan Lopez, Junior Aidan Chiles, and Senior Isaiah Blair. In the first quarter, Warren struggled to make consecutive plays. This allowed the Vikings to maximize their opportunities on offense. A lot of different players made their way onto the court to contribute. “I want to get everybody involved. It’s a goal of mine,” Captain Lopez, 11, shared prior to the game. “We want to get everybody on the court and in the game.” Due to the Vikings’ lead in the first quarter, Lopez was able to see a lot of his team involved. 


The rivals went into the third quarter with a score of 33 to 27 in Downey’s favor. After a slightly rough end of the second quarter for the Vikings, their lead over Warren was somewhat diminished. This trend continued into the second half of the game. Downey’s defense started to crumble as Warren closed in. Despite the adversity, the Vikings managed to still put points on the board and finished the third with a lead of 43 to 34. 


By the beginning of the fourth quarter, Downey’s defense and offense momentarily unraveled. Tensions were high on the court and between crowds as Warren brought up the intensity and started to string some plays together. With three minutes left in the game, Downey’s huge lead was officially diminished at a score of 53 to 51, still in the Viking’s favor. As the teams grew even more competitive, there were increasingly more fouls on the court. This trend allowed Warren to fully close in and reach a score of 55 to 55 with only one minute and twenty seconds left on the clock. 


In an effort to regain focus, the Viking offense slowed down the panicked pace of the game. In a clutch play, Downey’s Alex Verdugo, 11, made a shot that was followed by another Warren basket to make the score tied at 57 to 57. Momentum was swinging back and forth between the rivals, and intensity reached a peak with eighteen seconds left in the game. Victory was on the line for the Vikings. In a clutch play, Junior Omar Cisneros made a three-pointer to solidify a win for Downey right before time ran out. 


“In the second half, we didn’t come out ready to play. We got in our heads thinking we had it, but we remained calm. Talked to each other. Believed in each other,” Captain Jacob Topete revealed when asked how the team was able to secure the win. “We had to believe that we could come out and get this win, and we did.” This success will help propel Downey Basketball into an even more productive season and to achieve their goal of winning League.