Boys playoff run ends with first round loss


Tiffany Lee

Senior Noah Del Campo fires up a three pointer in the win against Chaffey.

In spite of falling one game short of repeating as league champions, Diamond Bar High School boys basketball finished the regular season with an impressive 8-2 record and competed in the first round of CIF.

After suffering an early first round exit with a 66-53 loss against Crean Lutheran, the boys’ season ended with an overall record of 13-16.

“One of the most impressive things with this team is that they work extremely hard and are coachable,” head coach Henry Frierson said. “We’ve been really proud of the way they’ve tried to apply things on the fly with a limited amount of experience, while learning what Coach wants.”

The Brahmas’ offensive production has drastically increased within the last three consecutive league wins, featuring an efficient zone offense predicated on penetrating the middle of the paint. After attacking the driving lanes, Diamond Bar finds open kickouts on the perimeter or inside passes for layups.

“At the beginning of the year, we just weren’t quite ready for the zone defense we saw the entire time during league,” Frierson said. “We’ve gotten much more comfortable with our zone offense and now the players know exactly what the coaches want; they aren’t necessarily thinking about the plays but they’re playing basketball and finding their spots like second nature.”

Another prominent factor behind the Brahmas’ league success was the return of senior captain Noah Del Campo. According to Frierson, Del Campo is one of the few returning athletes on the varsity roster and is well composed when directing inexperienced players to their proper positions.

“He’s [Del Campo] the most important person on the team even before he was injured, because his presence on the floor settles everyone down,” he said. “In addition to that, we always want to play a tempo game and he’s one of the fastest guys on our team; he’s our glue guy, and we’re glad to have him back.”

Due to the fact that the Brahmas have seven freshmen and four sophomores, a limited number of players have glimpses of postseason experience. However, Diamond Bar’s goal remains unchanged.“Our expectations have always been one, to win league and two, to win a CIF ring: the goals never change from season to season,” Frierson said. “As long as we put the correct work and effort in, I’m okay with falling short of our goals.”

Especially for the younger players on the team this season, Frierson explained how the correct mindset needs to be established before the start of CIF.  

“One of our sayings is ‘never too high on a make, never too low on a miss,” Frierson said. “I don’t want us to be over exuberant or being too calm before the games; we should be even-keeled and approach the game with the correct attitude. We’re always going to play hard and to the best of our ability.”

Throughout the course of league, Frierson praised senior captain Mark Wu for his consistent improvement and court presence as a veteran.

“Mark was absolutely a standout for us,” he said. “Although he had a slight low during the middle of the season, he’s been our catalyst from the beginning to the tail end of league and had a great year.”

Before playing against Crean Lutheran High School last Wednesday, Frierson described some essential goals the Brahmas needed to achieve before the big game.

“We need to get ready to face a man-to-man defense, which the team [Crean Lutheran] we’re going up against specializes in,” he said. “Irregardless of whether there is one or two games left, we need to be more fundamentally sound and keep getting better during every practice.”

Unlike their first matchup, the Brahmas thoroughly picked apart the Ontario Jaguars in every facet of the game, blowing them out by 41 points on their home floor. After outscoring Ontario by double-digit points in the first and third quarters of the match, Diamond Bar easily cruised past the Jaguars for their sixth win.

During the festivities of senior night, the Brahmas swept the season series against the Chaffey Tigers, resulting in another double-digit blowout at home. With Del Campo dishing and penetrating inside the feeble Tigers’ zone defense, the senior captain was the main offensive force behind Diamond Bar’s final home win.

The last league game highlighted a nail-biter against the Don Lugo Conquistadors. The Brahmas got off to a quick start within the first half of the last league game, jumping out to an 11-point lead at the break.  

However, the Conquistadors bounced back during the third quarter of the game, scoring 23 points in the period to cut the Brahma lead in half. With single-digit differences featured in every quarter, Diamond Bar was able to maintain their lead to secure their runner-up spot in league competition, winning by five points at the end of the season.