Full focus shifts towards Branson after boys’ varsity basketball defeats Novato

Arjun Aujla

Jacob Friedman sets up the offense. (Photo by Dani Steinberg)

On Feb. 2, 2023, the boys’ varsity basketball team defeated the Novato Hornets by a final score of 62-47. It was Novato’s senior night and Novato fans filled the stands to support their seniors. The Giants went into the game as heavy favorites and coach Jay Demaestri used this game as an opportunity to get his younger inexperienced players more minutes to ensure the consistency of his program in the coming years. 

“We’ve always been a fan of getting bench players playing time against teams that we know we should be beating, and getting them reps against other teams,” Demaestri said. 

The trend of strong play from junior Jake Vasquez continued as he finished with 20 points followed by 10 points from both Ains Fish and Johan Swildens.

The Giants had a slow start to the game going neck and neck with the Hornets in the first quarter. The Hornets were energized by their crowd and they were playing tight defense. This was until Vasquez knocked down two three-pointers in a row to grow the Giants lead to 10. Once their shots started going in, the Giants went on a roll and even once the starters were subbed out, the backups continued the same high level of play. The Giants went into halftime up 16 points with a score of  35-19. 

Going up for the layup, Jake Vasquez scores. (Photo by Dani Steinberg)

“The more experience the younger players get, the better the team will be in the long run, so it is really important for them to get that playing time,” Jacob Friedman said. 

The Hornets came out of halftime playing with a lot of aggression and went on a 21-10 run cutting the Redwood lead to just five points by the beginning of the fourth quarter.  Again, Vasquez came to the rescue scoring 10 unanswered points in a row which iced the game and led to the 62-47 victory over the Hornets. Immediately after the game, the Giants switched their focus to their last regular season game of the season against Branson. Redwood Senior Night will come with many emotions and nerves, but coach Demaestri had calming advice for his team. 

“My message last night after our game was that our next game is just another game, we have to be better, have to improve and we have to play our game. We are assuming that we will see [Branson]  again a second time within the week,” Demaestri said.

The Giants take on the Branson Bulls next at Phil Roark Gymnasium on Feb. 4 for Senior Night.