Boy’s Basketball Earns NCS Title After Close Game

Boys’ basketball celebrates their NCS win.

There was an undeniable energy that filled the air in Campolindo’s big gym on February 25. The boys’ varsity basketball team entered their home gym for the North Coast Section (NCS) finals versus the De La Salle (DLS) Spartans, filled with excitement and energy.

The stands were packed with Campo students decked out in white on 1 side, and De La Salle students in black on the opposing side. Before the game even started, loud cheers could be heard from both sides in anticipation of the big game.

After a tough 1st half, De La Salle was up by 6 points and had kept the lead for the majority of the 1st and 2nd quarters. Most of the 3rd quarter proved tough for Campo as well, resulting in the Spartans maintaining a lead of 10 points throughout the majority of the 3rd quarter.

Campo fought back, however, narrowing the DLS lead down to 3 points by the end of the 3rd quarter. Campo then dominated in the 4th quarter, scoring 9 points, while DLS only scored 5, earning the win and the NCS Championship title.

The final score was incredibly close: 51-50, with Campo coming out on top.

Senior and varsity player Justin Yasukochi was a notable driving force in Campo’s comeback, making many hustle plays and rebounds, as well as scoring 13 points in the close game. He was also nominated for Bay Area Player of the Week, partially due to his impact during the finals.

When discussing how the team came back from a 10 point deficit, Yasukochi said, “I feel like we have great leadership on our team… Even when we went down we just stuck it through… At halftime, we knew what we had to change and we made the adjustments.”

Starting player junior Clay Naffziger said, “We knew [that] it’s important to not get discouraged…We have faced adversity before so we knew it was important to handle it well and to not dig ourselves into a bigger hole…Our senior leaders really helped us to keep our heads up and stick to it until the end.”

With merely 6 tenths of a second left, Campo was only up by 1 point. The score was 51-50, and a freshman DLS player was on the foul line with the opportunity to potentially score 2 points for the game win. The Spartan player ended up missing his shot, resulting in the entirety of the Campo student section storming the court with cheers of enthusiasm.

“It was me who committed the foul…so I had to just live with what was going on, but I knew he was not making that,” said Yasukochi.

Naffziger added, “It is hard to say that you think you are going to lose a game because we want to win obviously…There was definitely some amount of nerves…Like ‘what if he makes the shot?’, [because] we worked so hard to get this win,… but I was confident that we were going to win the game the whole time…. We worked our way back and fought hard so we deserved the win.”

Due to the high stakes of the finals game, there was an incredible crowd of people who attended. Loud cheers echoed back and forth between Campo and De La Salle spectators, almost creating a “call and response” effect throughout the game, producing a very intense atmosphere.

Enthusiastic fan, and leader of many cheers, senior Elijah Klock said, “I think that cheering helps the athletes know that we still support you even though you’re down and that we’re still there. And we’re still getting rowdy and all that stuff.”

“It means a lot to us to have the gym filled up again and opposing fans and our fans just fire us up because when we hear energy, it gives us energy as well… It definitely helps us out a lot,” added Naffziger.

Campolindo is the 1st public school to win an open division NCS Championship, and this was varsity boys’ basketball coach Steven Dyer’s 1st NCS win with the team, as well. Dyer said, “Since I’ve been here, we haven’t won a NCS championship. So it was something that we always wanted to do, and to do it on our home court was really special.”