Hope to rebound in district play
by Sydney Peterson
The Titans finished their final week of regular season play by hosting Sargent on Friday, February 16 and traveling to Del Norte on Saturday, February 17.
Last time the Titans faced Sargent, they lost by three points and were looking to avenge that tough loss.
“We’re two very well matched teams, so I told the boys to go out and play a good game of basketball,” explains coach Brandin Hamilton. “I knew it was winnable if we didn’t get caught in Sargent’s running game.”
Sargent started the first quarter with an early lead. Senior Joseph Cummins responded with a jump shot at the elbow while Josh Merck added two points. Junior Tristan Davis received a pass on the outside for a three-pointer and also hit a jump shot. Despite their strong efforts, the Titans finished the quarter trailing by five points.
“Sargent employed a press that double-teamed Joseph and one of our other guards, which was very effective,” explains Hamilton.
In the second quarter, the Titans found their groove and went on a scoring run. Sophomore Ethan Bacani put up five points and Jovany Aguirre added in two. Ty Sherman nailed a shot from the block, while Cummins was fouled, making his free throws. The Titans finished the first half trailing the Farmers 23-27.
At the start of the second half, Sargent initiated a half-court trap, which temporarily hindered the Titans’ offense. Davis, Cummins and Murphy Smith led the charge during the third and fourth quarters.
The Titans remained in striking distance all the way up through the final seconds of the game. With a minute left in the fourth quarter, they trailed the Farmers by six points.
“We turned the ball over at critical moments,” explains Hamilton.
The Titans couldn’t hold on, eventually losing 49-39. Smith, Merck, and Dante Marchitelli were all major contributors in the second half, especially with Aguirre in foul trouble.
“They knew they had to step up and they gave us a chance,” says Hamilton.
The following day, the Titans headed to Del Norte, home to one of the top teams in the state.
“We used it as an opportunity to prepare for districts,” explains Hamilton. “Everyone got lots of playing time, and we were able to practice our defense.”
Although the Titans have been playing a zone defense, they switched to man-to-man.
“Del Norte has one of the best offensive players in the state,” says Hamilton. “So it was a great opportunity for Joseph to guard him.”
Although the Titans lost 14-45, they held the Del Norte Tigers to their third lowest score of the year and held their standout athlete to a meager 12 points.