Basketball Ready for State Game

Colin Jones, Staff Writer

The boys’ basketball beat Drake in the Norcal final game on March 21, earning advancement to the Division III State Championship game against Damien High School. The state title game will be played at Cal’s Haas Pavilion in Berkeley on March 27.

Damien, an all-boys Catholic school from La Verne, is ranked as the 8th best team in California and 51st in the nation. They have scored 532 total points this season. The average height of their players is 6’3″, with multiple players over 6 and a half feet. Campolindo’s average height is 6’1″.

“It was the first time in Campo history that a boys’ basketball team won NorCal,” said junior Walker Franklin.

“I’m pumped to play at Haas,” said senior Tiger Garcia. “It’s pretty cool.”

The NorCal finals game was a close one, with the Cougars edging Drake 50-44.

“We just [stuck] to what we know,” said senior center Chris Hansen.

Hansen said that he is “a little nervous” about the upcoming state championship matchup, but welcomes the challenge. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have to take advantage of it.”

“I’m pretty excited,” said Franklin. “This is my first state championship. We’ve had to work hard and practice. We perform well. I know we’re capable [of winning].”

“Defense [has been the key to our success],” said Garcia. “Every day we go over the fundamentals for defense.”

Hansen said the key to the successful season has been the team “chemistry.” He added, “We’ve bonded really well. We know each other so well.”

The players said that they didn’t exactly know what their strategy will be for the final game on Friday. “I’m just going to find a groove and do what I’ve been doing,” said Hansen. “We’ll come out strong and not back down.”

“He’s an animal,” Garcia said of Hansen. “He’s carrying us.”

“He’s our big man. He brings the whole team together,” said Franklin. Hansen had 56 points over the course of two games against Las Lomas and Dougherty Valley. Against Las Lomas, he went 15 for 15 in free throws. All the players agreed that the final game will be a challenge. “[Damien] has really good guard play,” said Garcia.

“We just have to move the ball really fast and get it to Chris [Hansen],” said Garcia.

Franklin agreed. “We have to take long shots and get the ball moving. [Personally I should work on] composure. For the seniors, it’s their last game.”

“It’s the last game of my high-school career. I just want it to go perfect,” said Garcia. For Garcia, the state championship will be his second CIF title game this year. He played on the victorious state champion football team in December. And despite the potential nerves, Garcia is pumped for the championship. “I’ve played in a lot of big games. I live for the big games,” he said. “It’s crazy to think about it but you kind of take it day by day and take it practice by practice.”

“I’m probably not going to deal with [the nerves] until the game,” said Hansen. “[But] honestly, they’re another team just like us. They’re athletic and strong and we’re going to have to play calm.”

Walker, who said that he will probably be returning to the team next year, has high hopes for the future. “We have a lot of junior talent right now. There are some good freshmen and sophomores coming up next year too.”

As for the game on Friday, Hansen is confident.

“Anyone can be beaten,” he said.