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Depth Shines for Fremont on Senior Night

With their two best active players in Yuval Lewit and Jaidev Shankar having off nights shooting the basketball and star senior Dan Chizik sidelined with an injury, it was a collection of role players who stepped up with impressive performances for Fremont on Tuesday night.

Celebrating senior night, the Firebirds struggled out of the gate, allowing the Santa Clara Bruins to hang around for longer than one would have expected. However, Ayush Pandy, Myles Caban, Kyle Steigerwald, Barak Shahar and Toshi North all stepped up to play bigger roles in an eventual 48-37 victory. 

With the Firebirds looking a bit slow in the first quarter, the offense was led in the first half by Caban. The senior guard drained two three-pointers. His first triple gave the squad a 7-2 lead in the first quarter and his second boosted the lead over Santa Clara to 18-12. 


“Myles is someone who didn’t play last year, but he can really shoot it,” chimed Fremont Head Coach Tony Kikuta. “It was a good matchup for us with him since we were going up against a lot of zone tonight. I was really happy with how he played tonight.” 

Coach Kikuta was also particularly pleased with how Steigerwald chipped in with big plays in key moments. After the Bruins had pulled things even at 10-10 early in the second quarter, it was a Steigerwald three that got the momentum back.

“Kyle has been fantastic all year long; he has done outstanding work consistently,” praised Kikuta. “He is someone who doesn’t maybe show up a lot in the boxscore but just does everything right.” 

Steigerwald himself was stoked about all the contributions from different teammates after the win. 

“I think it speaks to how much work we put in and how much depth we have on this team,” chimed Steigerwald. “I feel like anyone who is coming off the bench can give us good minutes and score some buckets for us.” 

It was Pandy off the bench who scored some big buckets from beyond the arc and added an impressive and-one floater. North provided some big time toughness rebounding and finished off some tough layups at the other end as well.

However, perhaps the most impressive performance of all was that from team captain Barak Shahar. The senior had multiple steals leading to fast breaks the other way, one of which saw him finish an incredibly acrobatic layup from underneath the basket with his momentum going hard toward the baseline.

Shahar managed to flip the ball up high off the glass, get the basket to fall and drew the foul. He would complete the and-one free throw for the best highlight of the night. 

“We’ve been dealing with injuries all year; the resiliency of the team, the depth, that’s the reason we’re 19-5 right now,” remarked Shahar on the team’s next man up mentality. “Shoutout to everyone. Everyone works hard. They are all ready for the opportunity.” 

Starting Friday, the Firebirds will have an opportunity to win a playoff basketball game as the team opens up CCS. Opponent, time and location for the first round still to be determined. 


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