Boys’ Basketball Plays Fast and Loose to Run Away with A Win


Forward Owen Schmitz (11) converts a reverse layup for two points to contribute to his total 13 for the night. (Photo Credit: Vivian Hoang)

Vivian Hoang, Copy Editor

With determination and passion, the boys’ varsity basketball team fought fiercely to win against the Richmond Oilers in a non-league game on Dec. 16. Both teams played hard, fighting for rebounds and live balls with ferocity. Irvington was always on the top of the scoreboard with a double-digit lead for most of the game. The closest the game ever got was four points during the fourth quarter which was quickly widened again with a combination of Irvington’s quick scoring and strong defense. The Vikings were able to edge out a win with a final score of 79-70.

The flow of the game could only be described as fast and furious. Irvington was aggressive and set the tempo for the game. However, the quick and passionate playing style also led to many mistakes in the form of turnovers and missed passes. It also may have contributed to the eight fouls called on the Vikings in the first quarter alone, double that of their opponent. Though the number of fouls were stifled after a huddle at the end of the first quarter, the trend of Irvington fouls continued throughout the game.

Irvington’s big men handled the offensive rebounds and putbacks well, earning praise from the coaches and their fellow players.

Captain Albert Zhu (12) elaborated on their performances, “The big men of our team played really well tonight: grabbing the rebounds, playing defense, and making the inside shots. All of our big men were the MVPs of the game.”

The Vikings’ strongest quarter was the second when they managed to stay out of foul trouble and ended the quarter with the large lead of 11 points, 44-33.

Timeouts were crucial to the team’s success. The discussion at the end of the first quarter led to Irvington only committing two fouls during the second quarter. When the other team took advantage of turnovers and went on a run during a tough third quarter, the Irvington coaches quickly called a timeout to stop their momentum.

Coach Ron Littleton emphasized the need to refocus during timeouts, “There were times when we went on these really nice runs and then we kind of lost our focus. We call those timeouts when the run starts going astray and you see a couple of people starting to lose focus. We had to do it a lot because we lost focus a lot and the boys started to battle the officials instead of battling the other players.”

With six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and nursing a four point lead, Irvington used its last timeout to refocus and salvage what was left of their original double-digit lead.  The apparent shift in the Vikings’ attitudes led to the end of Irvington’s dry scoring spell, and Richmond’s coaches quickly called another timeout to slow the game down. However, Irvington was focused on maintaining their lead and held out until the very end for a win.

Irvington’s win also translated to impressive numbers on the stat sheet. Captain Braxton Carlson (11) was the night’s lead scorer and rebounder with 19 points and 17 rebounds. Forward Owen Schmitz (11) and guard Albert Zhu (12) both contributed 13 points each. Schmitz also chipped in eight rebounds for the night. The lead facilitator was point guard Jimmy Wang (11) with 5 assists in total.

Even with a win, the Vikings know that the season is still young and there is room for improvement. The players recognized that they have been struggling with turnovers all season. “That’s just a facet of the game we need to improve if we want to compete with the stronger teams in our league,” Carlson said.

The main lesson the team took from the win was to keep playing through tough calls and maintain composure. Looking past the night’s celebrations, the team hopes to take the momentum from the game to power them through the rest of the season.