Sophomores and juniors step up

BOYS BASKETBALL In their first five preseason games, the team is 3-2 and placed fourth at the Bosco Tech Tournament.


Eric Hong

Senior Malik Corey drives to the hoop in a match against Diamond Ranch.

Eric Hong, Opinion Editor

Since its  disappointing 55-24 loss to Rancho Verde in the first round of the CIF playoffs last season,the Diamond Bar High School boys basketball team has grown older and more experienced, and the progress has shown.

Despite a tough start, going 12-18 in the Rowland-San Dimas summer league, the returning team members have displayed improvement.

The team earned a 4-3 record in the fall league and continued its momentum to preseason, starting off 3-2 and finished fourth out of 12 teams in the Bosco Tech Tournament (the team finished  ninth  last year). The Brahmas secured wins with leads up to 48 points against Arroyo High School.

Last year, the Brahmas went 3-7 in the Palomares League and finished in third place. The boys are expected to perform better than last season, with eight seniors making up almost half of the roster. In the previous year, the team had just three seniors, centers Damien Flores and Evon Shubin and shooting guard Peter Valencia.

“It’s really just the level of confidence that we have from a system standpoint, and, individually, the kids are playing really well,” head coach Henry Frierson said.

However, with former centers  Flores and Shubin gone, sophomores centers Mike Gao and Bryan Reyes have been left to fill the post—last year’s strongest position. Gao leads the team in rebounds, averaging 6.8 a game.

“They both have really picked up where we left off last year,” Frierson said. “I think this year, we’re a stronger team.”

Senior co-captain and point guard Malik Corey, who earned a spot on the All Tournament Team, currently leads the Brahmas’ defense, the “glue of the team,” averaging 4.8 steals and 3.2 deflections per game.

The team also forces an average of 18.6 turnovers. Corey also leads the team in scoring, averaging 22.8 points per game.

“Offensively, I think we’re doing a lot better than last year,” Frierson said.

With the Brahmas averaging 66.8 points a game, improving the team’s offense is not as high a priority as it was the previous season.

“Our goals are a bit different this year,” he said. “We’d like to win at least one to two of our Christmas tournaments.”