Boys’ Basketball Makes Headway In Playoffs

Gondoliers will face LACES at Hamilton High tonight in CIF L.A. City Section D1 semifinals


Samuel Laxamana and Celeste Umaña

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Boy’s basketball will head to Hamilton High School today to face off LACES in the semifinals at 8 p.m. after bulldozing the El Camino Real Royals 72-45 last Friday in the CIF LA City Section Division 1 quarterfinals.

The Gondoliers have a 1-1 record against the Unicorns this season. 

Junior Tyler Hunt, a guard, is confident that they have “figured them out” after going against them last month and studying the way they play on film. 
“We’re able to really see and analyze how they’re playing, and what their playing style is,” he said. “If we come out and play defense and press them again like last game, we’ll come out successful again.”

Coach Dave Galley described LACES as a tough team with “a couple good shooters.” 

“They have some size, and they sit in our two-three zone and really pack it in and make us shoot a bunch of shots,” he said. “And if we’re executing, we’ll just do fine—and if we turn it into a three point shooting contest, it’ll be a battle.”

Hunt said that LACES is collectively a good team, but that the Gondoliers are a better team—with more talent and size.

“I think that’s going to be a game changer,” he said. 

Hunt said that LACES’ weakness is that they don’t have strong handles and that their “defense cannot keep with our athleticism.”

“When they’re pressed, they get discombobulated and they like to turn the ball over a lot,” he said.

Hunt said that defensive pressing is a skill that translates well from practice onto the court.
“That’s practically our game plan—it’s just to press the team and force turnovers and then offensively we try and get as many sets as we can.”

Galley’s goal since the beginning of the season was to rebuild after losing many seniors and to move forward. He said he believes that they have done a “pretty good job of building the team back up and getting us where we wanted to be.”

Coach Galley said that it has been an up and down season due to having to go against difficult teams in the start of season, but now have gotten past that.

“Our expectations were very high, and then when we started losing some of those games,” he said. “It became tough on the everyone and to stay focused and buy in.”

“Now that we’ve gotten past that, there’s some buy in on both offense and defense. These guys are great though, they never quit, they never stopped trying,” said Galley.

Galley said that going against these difficult teams were necessary for the team to understand what it takes to be a good basketball team.
“I think our team is a way better basketball team than it was two weeks ago, a month ago.”
Tyler said that “the mental state of the team has been just to get past one team, one game at a time.”

Things went well in Venice’s 72-45 blow-out against El Camino Real. 

“Venice put on a lot of pressure—they were aggressive and more physical than us. We never matched intensity, got down early, and unfortunately we dug a hole for ourselves,” said El Camino Real coach Colin Jamerson. 

The Gondoliers were dominant all throughout the game, strong defensively and aggressive on offense. They kept fouls to a minimum, while keeping their energy and intensity high. 

“I think the team is starting to share the ball better and become more of a team, instead of an individual outing,” Galley said after the game. 

The team was a strong force, relying on one another to continuously get points and steal the ball back.

“We played together and it was bigger than just playing for yourself. It was playing for your teammates, the seniors, the coaching staff, and not playing selfish basketball,” said junior Ryder Decena, a point guard.