On February 25, 2020, the middle school Jaguars bounced back from their loss against Riverside Prep with a 22 point lead.
At first, the game started off slow with both teams playing defense and no one scoring for the first two minutes. Then, finally, eighth grader Tarron Grim (#2) was able to get the ball on a fast break and made the first points of many for the Jags. Right after this, #2 on the Excelsior team dribbled down court and hit a bank shot to tie the game 2-2 .
Next, Grim (#2) came down the court and hit another jump shot, but that is where the back and forth ended. Kent Ortiz (#7) got a steal and finished his layup. Ortiz then locked down on defense and made UP’s full court press fierce for their unfortunate competitor.
About his early contribution in the game, Oritz shared, “It feels good being a helping part of the team getting a lead.”
Continuing in the game, Ortiz (#7) obtained another steal and then passed the ball to Grim (#2) and Grim finished with a floater in front of the rim. Then the Jags go on a 6-0 run with Aiden Kraus (#2) adding four points of his own but, unfortunately, Excelsior scored their first points in 3 minutes with a free throw from #2. This seemed to give Excelsior some hope because following the shot, #13 made a layup for a put back rebound. However, whatever hope the Eagles had was quickly crushed when #6 pump fakes, drives, and then stops on a dime for a nothing but net mid-range jumper. The impressive move was met with the whole crowd erupting with excitement and the bench couldn’t hide their joy.
The Jags went on another scoring spree with one free throw being the only points that the Eagles scored for the rest of the Half. The score was 18-8 with 5 different players scoring in half and Grim (#2) leading team with 8 points.
Going into the second half, the team was really hyped up, as the first shot of the second half comes from Grim (#2) who makes a step back three in the corner which surprised just about everyone in the gym. After this, Grim came down the court and got another fast break layup.
As a direct response to Grim’s first two shots, the rest of the team came out and showcased their skills. First, Aiden Kraus (#1) splashed a three from the corner. A few plays later, Israel showed off his physical dominance by getting three consecutive rebounds and then finishing the play with a strong layup. After this, Aramagio joined in on the fun by getting his fifth steal of the game and finished with an easy layup. This forced Excelsior’s coach to have to make a time out because in the whole run, Excelsior only scored 2 layups.
Once the back in, Gabriel Ramirez (#9) sunk a three-pointer and Kiang Ang (#13) hit a jumper and Grim (#2) finished the game with a fast break layup off of a steal.
After the game, everyone was excited and content the win. The importance of the game to Garret Flora meant a lot and states, “Now we are automatically gonna have a winning record.”
The team is now 6-3 and only have two games left. If they win the next two games, they will have a 6-5 record which means that they would have won more games than they lost this season.
For Coach Bradley, this win is an indicator of what is to come out of the rest of the season sharing, “This was a good win because whenever you get a blowout win at home, it’s always a confidence booster and if we could keep up the confidence and this momentum going, then there’s no stopping us.”
At the game sitting with the team on the bench, current high school basketball players, Sophomores Julius Scruggs and Gabrien Yorba-Ruiz sat on the bench and saw first hand what this team was capable of and commented, “This team looks really good this year”, shared Scruggs and “The future of UP basketball is looking really bright.” stated Yorba-Ruiz.
After the game, the Middle school Jaguars left with their heads held high with the final score of 41-19.