Boys Basketball: Lessons learned in La Jolla High loss to Cathedral Catholic High School, 59-45

• BOYS BASKETBALL: Cathedral Catholic High School Dons 59, La Jolla High School Vikings 45

La Jolla High School’s Vikings boys basketball team fell short against Western League rivals Cathedral Catholic High, losing 59-45 to the Dons at home, Feb. 20, 2015.

After scoring the game’s first three points, the Vikings dropped behind and spent the remainder of the game playing catch-up after the Dons scored 15 straight points. La Jolla seemed out-matched for most of the game committing turnovers and watching shots bounce off the rim.

Coach Paul Baranowski attributed some of the poor play to his players having too much anxiety. “Sometimes on a night like this, you get a little too amped up, you don’t play your best game,” Baranowski said. “We got wound up, didn’t stick to the plan.”

Senior Ladd Castellano, who scored 16 points in the losing effort, agreed with his coach’s diagnosis, and added his team made some critical mistakes that prevented a would-be comeback. “We had way too many turnovers. They’re great in offensive transition, and we fed into that,” Castellano said.

Despite the mistakes made, La Jolla was able to lessen the deficit to nine points by halftime. The Vikings had a strong second quarter, but fell apart after the break. After a tough third quarter, they were down 47-28, and the game seemed out of reach.

“We didn’t come out with a lot of energy in the third quarter,” Castellano said. “We got away from everything good we did in the second quarter.”

Some of those things included some key defensive stops, including a couple of huge blocks by junior Alex Pitrofsky in the second quarter. About halfway through the second quarter, La Jolla was only down 21-18, and the home crowd was on their feet and yelling their support.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, that success could not be sustained.

“We just couldn’t put it together,” Baranowski said. “You have a plan, you think it can happen, and then other things get in the way, for whatever reason.”

Despite the tough loss to a league rival, La Jolla (4-8 Western League, 14-12 overall) is playing in the postseason. The Vikings played against cross-town rivals the Bishop’s School on Tuesday Feb. 24.

One huge factor into the Vikings’ playoff game is the loss of sophomore Reed Farley. Farley, who scored 8 points before leaving the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter.

The sophomore was injured earlier in the season, and Baranowski said that his team has to alter their strategy to account for Farley’s absence.

“Reed was out for about six games before, and we sort of reinvented what we did, so we’ll go back to what we did at that time,” Baranowski said. “We’ll slow it down a little bit, be more deliberate.”

Farley also offers leadership on the court. “Even though he’s a sophomore, he acts like a senior,” Castellano added. “He settles our team down, and we were playing a little frantic without him.”

The Vikings will have to find other ways to generate offense without one of their top scorers. Baranowski hinted at some extra creativity in the works.

• La Jolla Girls Water Polo defeats Westview advancing to CIF semi-finals

La Jolla High girls water polo won handily against the Westview High Wolverines 11-1 on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex.

The Vikings will play against the Bishop’s School on Thursday, Feb. 26 in the semi-finals at 5:45 p.m. at the same venue.

The Vikings have played the Knights twice this season and lost both games. Bishop’s won the first matchup 7-5 at La Jolla on Jan. 15. The Knights won the second game 5-4 on Feb. 4 at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla.