Slick shooting leads boys basketball to top spot in league

A matchup between undefeated teams often features offensive firepower and fundamental defense. That was the case on Jan. 27, when the Chargers squared off against the visiting Oak Grove Eagles. Both teams sported a 5-0 record and battled for the top spot in the Mount Hamilton Central Coast Section (CCS) league. The Chargers wanted it more however, and they put on an offensive clinic in a 82-66 win over Oak Grove.

The team started slow and soon found themselves trailing 9-5. However, starting with a pair of baskets by Josh Kim ’15, the offense started clicking. Luke Rohrer ’15, Nick Murtha ’16 and James Kelbert ’16 all knocked down a three point shot by the end of the quarter and turned the four point deficit into a 24-13 advantage after eight minutes of play.

The Chargers picked up where they left off in the second quarter, dazzling the ecstatic home crowd. The team knocked down six three-pointers in the second quarter, three of which came from former Charger Account ’s Athlete of the Month Rohrer. He finished with 16 points at the half, while Kelbert and Murtha had 12 and 11 points respectively. To top off the offensive explosion, Zahir Best-Simmons ’15 knocked down a layup at the buzzer to give the Chargers a 54-30 lead at halftime.

The team’s offense slowed down in the second half, but the game was already in hand for the Chargers. They held on to their lead, winning 82-66 and toppling the once undefeated Oak Grove Eagles and taking over the top spot in the league with a 6-0 record. Kelbert finished the game with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, while Rohrer added 25 points from five three-pointers while shooting 10-15 from the field along with four steals. The team knocked down 10 threes as a whole, and shot 58% from the field. The Chargers’ high-octane offense is a product of slick ball movement and capable scorers, with the ability to dominate the opposing defense, often scoring at least 70 points in a game, something they have done six times this season.

“The team’s success can be credited to to hard work in practice and an unselfish mentality with the ball during games.” said Anthony Lin ’16.

After the win, the team traveled to Gunderson. The Chargers had played the Grizzlies previously, winning 65-61 in a close, grind-it-out basketball game on opening night. The team looked to utilize this success, along with their recent offensive proficiency, as momentum towards their matchup against the rising Grizzlies, who had won 4 of their last 5 games heading into the game. The Chargers started the game sharp, sporting an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, the Grizzlies responded in the second and third quarter, and the Chargers were only leading by two points heading into the third quarter. Gunderson worked hard defensively, and ultimately prevailed, with a 53-49 win, ending the Chargers’ unbeaten streak. Kelbert was the leading scorer, finishing with 21 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.

In their latest home game against Piedmont Hills, there was an unfamiliar sight: a television van. It was clear to the team the importance of the game. And after pulling out a 54-49 win, they asserted their dominance in league and the number three spot in CCS.

The Chargers, now 9-1 in league play and 16-4 overall, are still at the top of the Mount Hamilton league standings with six games left in the league season. With playoffs almost in sight, the team is poised to make a run in the postseason. But for now, the Chargers have set their attention on finishing off the season right.

“We have one goal in mind right now: win the league title,” said Lin. And with the way their season is going, they may do just that.