On Wilcox Chargers senior night, the Fremont Firebirds of Sunnyvale could not keep up with the home team on Friday, losing 55-49.
In the first quarter and much of the first half, the Firebird offense could not get into a rhythm. The Chargers upped the pressure and intensity, implementing a full-court press, which made the Firebirds commit some costly unforced turnovers such as dribbling the ball off their foot and throwing the ball in the backcourt.
Fremont coach Tony Kikuta thought the offense took so long to get revved up due to a lack of energy from his players.
“I feel like everyone that came out was a little bit lethargic,” coach Kikuta explained. “I don’t feel like they were engaged and ready to go from the start.”
Wilcox, down 14-12 at the end of the first quarter, went on a 7-1 surge to start the second period. It was not until a couple of easy baskets from Amit Rotem and Richen Ocray got the Firebird offense got humming before halftime.
The third quarter was the time period when Fremont made their push against the Chargers. They outscored the home team 17-15, and got offensive contributions from Yuval Danino, point guard, Nathan Martinez and freshman big man, Dave Chatha.
The combination of Danino, Martinez and Chatha helped bring a lethargic offense to life by driving aggressively to the basket, drawing fouls and shooting threes as well.
Chatha said that he needs to be more aggressive for his team to be successful and when the offense is not flowing.
“I think I need to start looking for my shot more and aggressively attacking the basket,” Chatha said. “That should be a really big focus for me.”
Chatha finished the game with 11 points. Danino finished with 24 points and four three-pointers.
As well as the Firebirds played offensively in the third quarter, the Chargers were right with them. One of the seniors honored on Friday, Devin Baddo attacked the basket and got to the free throw line. He finished with a team-high 16 points for Wilcox, including shooting 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
Baddo wasn’t the only player for the Chargers who attacked the Firebird defense. Junior Prat Sharma slashed to the basket and drew fouls, earning himself trips to the charity stripe. Sharma finished with 14 points, second on the team.
The fourth quarter was a seesaw battle, with both teams hitting shots and making plays. However, the Chargers made a few more plays in the fourth quarter and forced some timely and costly turnovers by the Firebirds.
“They put pressure on, but I think, ultimately, I just didn’t think we did a good job of dealing with it because they didn’t really steal the ball from us,” coach Kikuta said. “We just threw the ball away.”
Although there were several miscues by Fremont, defensively, Coach Kikuta was pleased with his team’s defensive effort.
“I thought the guys did a good job of shifting, adjusting and identifying where the threats are,” coach Kikuta noted about the team’s defense.
The Firebirds will close out their season on Tuesday on senior night against Saratoga at 7 p.m.