Boys’ varsity basketball nail-biter concludes in devastating Bull victory

Jenna Dahlin

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The fans held their breath as the clock dwindled down. Branson’s lead fluctuated from a 15-15 tie in the second quarter to a more significant advantage that was again closed by a Redwood offensive spurt. As the game came down to its final minutes, the Bulls pulled ahead, securing a 43-35 win for Branson.

Junior Max Ross helps Matthews up after a foul.

The boy’s varsity basketball team went head to head with the Branson Bulls on Tuesday, Dec. 4, a team known for their strength on the court as they defeated the Giants last year and reigned as the 2018 MCAL champions.

Playing forward, Ancona posts up on a Branson defender.

Junior Pasquale Ancona, forward, attributed Branson’s victory to their defensive strengths.

“Overall Branson is a very disciplined team. You’re never going to catch them off guard. If you throw something at them they’ll adapt to how you play. It’s tough to get through a team like that,” Ancona said.

Coach Steve Compagno reiterated that higher intensity is necessary to have success over a substantial defensive line up.

“I’m not sure that we were mentally prepared. We weren’t ready to win that game; we hadn’t had great practices leading up to the game,” Compagno said. “We got by with a couple wins against teams that weren’t very good. Both players and coaches have to step it up in practice.”

Double teamed by two Branson defenders, Matthews passes his way out of the defenders.

At halftime, the Giants were behind by four points. As the team returned, senior guards Chance Farrell-Martin and Jake Matthews dominated the court, thwarting Branson from increasing the Bull’s lead.

The team listens intently as coach Compagno talks second half strategy.

In the fourth quarter junior Callaway Allen subbed in, dominating offensively with a three-pointer to help reduce Branson’s lead. Even with this, Redwood was unable to close the point gap.

Junior Callaway Allen knocks back a three as the bench cheers him on.

Farrell-Martin acknowledged the strong plays exhibited by the Bulls.

“Branson had better gameplay. They run their plays continuously throughout the game. We have spurts where we lack variety in playmaking,” Farrell-Martin said.

Farrell-Martin drives to the net for a lay up.

Despite the team’s last minutes efforts, Branson triumphed over the Giants, exhibiting Branson’s tactical strength. Compagno ascribes the lack of offensive strength to the limited intensity at practices.

“We have to practice harder every day. When you play a championship team they are not going to give you anything easy. If you’re not used to working really hard in your offense, where we struggled tonight, you’re going to get exposed. And we got exposed tonight,” Compagno said.

The Redwood student section closed out with a cheer, “Let’s play football,” as the sea of students dressed in bright neon filtered out the doors into the rainy Tuesday night. Redwood plays their next league game on Dec. 10 against Tam in the Redwood gym.

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