Boys mature as league begins

Brahmas use fast-paced tempo to win first four league contests.


Tiffany Lee

Senior Mark Wu attempts a free throw to contribute toward the Brahmas’ dominant outing against Chino.

With a third straight league championship on the line, Diamond Bar High School’s boys basketball team has impressive performances against its conference opponents, resulting in a hot 4-0 start and an improvement in their overall record, now at 9-13.

“What’s really been an eye-opener for us coaches is just how our younger players have grown up,” head coach Henry Frierson said. “There was a lot of times earlier in the year where immaturity had shown up, but when league came around, they’ve been much more responsible, especially in the golden minutes, or last four minutes in the game.”

According to Frierson, the chemistry between the younger athletes and coaches has significantly improved since the beginning of the season, as the players have quickly developed an enhanced understanding of what is demanded on the floor.

“We only have three returning players period, on this team of 19; of those three players, only one of them had played substantial minutes last year,” he said. “After a lot of growing pains earlier in the year, I think now we’re learning things on the fly despite not having a lot of experience of the floor.”

 Setting the tone in the first quarter is one of the primary reasons behind Diamond Bar’s nine wins thus far; doing so allows the Brahmas to capitalize on one of their strong suits: a fast-paced tempo providing easy open-court scoring opportunities.

“We’re still trying to figure out [how to play better in] that first quarter,” Frierson said. “It’s important for us to know how to put two halves together, but we just wish we don’t have to fight so hard in the fourth quarter of every game.”

On the other hand, the Brahmas experienced major defensive struggles in their losses, giving up an astounding average of 64 points per game according to Maxpreps. Frierson stated how their lack of physicality in preventing offensive rebounds is one of their main flaws, allowing opponents more second-chance opportunities.

“Us coaches just have to do a better job in our demanding of controlling the ball [handlers] and steering them off the elbows,” Frierson said. “This basically means we don’t want any straight-line drives going directly to the hoop.”

For the remainder of the season, Frierson states how the Brahmas hope to attain small milestones such as limiting their opponents to approximately 40 points a game in order to set their sights on greater achievements.

The Brahmas won a nail-biter in their season opener against the Montclair Cavaliers, mounting a comeback in the final period after falling behind by a double-digit deficit in three quarters. With a balanced array of buckets in the painted area complemented by sharp outside shooting, Diamond Bar edged out a one-point victory after going on a 21-8 run in the final eight minutes, escaping with a 55-54 victory.

“I was so proud of how resilient our young guys were [during the game],” Frierson said.

In their following match, the Brahmas locked down the Chino Cowboys with an elite full-court press defensive scheme, restricting their opponent to a meager 34 points the entire game. The 12-point victory for Diamond Bar also featured a decent offensive outing, as the Brahmas outscored the Cowboys during three quarters of the contest.

 As of late, the Brahmas tamed the Ontario Jaguars with a convincing 10-point victory on the road, continuing their hot streak in league competition. After falling behind by eight points going into halftime, Diamond Bar proceeded to add 40 points in the latter half of the match to keep the game out of reach.

“It would be easy for me to say us coaches had some crazy adjustment at halftime, but it was just the kids that became hyper-responsible and eventually figured it out [against Chino and Ontario],” Frierson said.

Last Friday, Diamond Bar won another game that came down to the wire, edging out the Chaffey Tigers who are winless in league. Each quarter featured single-digit point differences, but the Brahmas eventually emerged victorious with a five-point win.

The Brahmas will host a rematch against the Montclair Cavaliers this upcoming Friday.