The Mission High Bears ended an eventful season Tuesday with a hard-fought loss against El Cerrito, 74-62, in the first round of the CIF state tournament.
Despite defeats in the CIF and their section finals, Mission played at an extremely proficient level of basketball throughout the season and earned significant respect from schools around the Bay Area.
At each and every game this year, Mission put on a frantic defense and moved at a fast tempo. That, combined with the distinct personalities and playing styles of all 13 team members, really marked this year’s squad as impressive and left them with a 23-11 record. All signs point to even bigger improvements next season.
What made this year truly exceptional was how young this team is. There were just four seniors, and only three with actual varsity minutes under their belts. However, the lack of experience did not mean a lack of leadership. There was never a true star as the basketball season progressed. In fact, the team’s leading scorer averaged only 12 points per game.
Instead, all players shared the glory and every game was exciting to watch. One player could score 30 points in one game, and two days later, another player would go for a triple-double. They unselfishly shared the spotlight to the ultimate goal of winning. Knowing when to step up and take charge and when to step back and allow others to star is what really established a sense of equality and leadership among these men.
“Man, it [the entire season] had fun, teamwork, love and care. We all love each other, we’re all like brothers. This was a good season; I’m happy at how things ended,” said senior captain Jaleel Stancil, a smile on his face as he boarded the team bus to return to San Francisco.
Stancil finished his fourth and last year with Mission basketball, and he will be leaving knowing that he and the other three seniors have set the team on a strong path.
There were handshakes, jokes exchanged, and singing and dancing — a good vibe all around the Mission Bears as they exited the El Cerrito gates.
As they punch out of basketball for the year, each is going in a different direction. Some are moving along to bigger and better things, while others know that they will see each other again in the fall, to wear brown and yellow and to trap other teams on the hardwood.
Thanks for this coverage of the Mission Basketball season. The loss in the first round of the State playoffs at El Cerrito last night was bittersweet, but it was not for a lack of effort. The 4th seeded Gauchos did an excellent job and were the toughest opponent seen all year.
In the past decade the Mission Basketball program has gone impressively far, getting better and better each year. Measured not just in their great athletic achievements, but also in the improvements of scholastic and civic maturity of these players.
You’re welcome. The credit really goes to Richard Lee, a sophomore at Mission High who wrote the stories for us. He did a superb job. Also, we had our photographers out there who took a lot of nice shots. Best, Lydia, editor