Boys Basketball: La Jolla High School drops season opener at Kearny High, 61-48
BOYS BASKETBALL — SCORE:
• Kearny High School Komets: 61
• La Jolla High School Vikings: 48
• Vikings’ junior guard Ladd Castellano scores 16
By Ed Piper
The La Jolla High School Vikings’ boys basketball team shares the ball on offense and plays tough man-to-man defense at the other end of the court. The only difficulty in the season opener at Kearny High on Dec. 2, 2013 was that they didn’t demonstrate much effectiveness in either department, dropping a 61-48 decision to the Kearny Komets.
The game was the first the two teams played in the Game On Sports Challenge. Tournament games continued through the week.
Junior guard Ladd Castellano scored 16 points, but La Jolla as a team committed 23 turnovers. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Coach Paul Baranowski called a timeout at 2:04 of the third quarter with the Vikings trailing by 20 points, 43-23. Early in the fourth quarter they were also down by 20 points with the score 51-31.
“I think we came out a little timid. We didn’t use the first quarter effectively,” remarked Castellano on the 19-2 deficit his team opened the game with. “A big lead for them, and we really couldn’t get it back from them.”
Said Vikings reserve guard Gaynor Blackmon: “It might have been (nerves). We just didn’t bring the energy.”
The Vikings’ shot chart shows they have the potential to score from the outside. Senior guard Myles Polger hit 3-pointers in the second, third and fourth quarters. Freshman Reed Farley, playing in his first high school game, hit a jumper from the free-throw line in the second quarter, a 3-pointer from the right baseline in the third quarter. He looked under control. Morgan Albers, a 6-2 sophomore also playing his first varsity game, was able to score from right under the basket twice in the third quarter.
“We just weren’t ready to play when we stepped on the floor tonight,” said Baranowski, beginning his second season as head varsity coach at La Jolla, his 24th overall as a head coach. “We didn’t do some of the little things. That surprised me. We didn’t block out and we didn’t keep the ball in front of us. We kind of over-handled it. Instead of attacking the basket, we spent a lot of time bouncing the ball on the perimeter for no particular reason. It’s a tough one.”
Farley and Polger each scored 12 points, in addition to Castellano’s total. Owen Porter, a junior coming off the bench, equaled Ladd with five rebounds.
“We’ll respond better to our mistakes as our season goes along,” Baranowski added. The La Jolla coach had commented leading up to the opener: “I’m cautiously optimistic regarding our outlook for the season. I see tremendous potential in this group.”
The Vikings used a rotation of Castellano, Farley, Albers, Madigan Sepulveda-Sanders, and Sam Schneider starting, with Myles Polger, Zach Duffy, Owen Porter, Daniel Hemming, and Blackmon coming off the bench.
Three players are coming over to basketball from the just-ended football season, so they were held out of the game until they were able to practice with the team. The trio includes Nic Skala, who is projected to start for the Vikings.
— GAME STATS:
• Points: Castellano 16, Polger 12, Farley 12, Sepulveda-Sanders 4, Hemming 2, Albers 2, Porter 2
• Rebounds: Porter 5, Castellano 5, Albers 3
• Steals: Schneider 2, Sepulveda-Sanders 1, Polger 1, Duffy 1
• Turnovers: Castellano 4, Duffy 4, Farley 4, Sepulveda-Sanders 4, Polger 3
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