After winning the opening tip-off, Raoul Wallenberg High School’s basketball team was able to grab the lead in Thursday’s game against the Mission High Bears off a layup from senior center Simon Quan. This was the first and the last lead for the Bulldogs, however, as the Bears went on a 31-7 run to close out the quarter. Mission didn’t look back, strolling through the rest of the contest to finish with a score of 90-46.
“They played very well, I think that they’re just getting better and better and priming themselves for the playoffs. They‘re doing a good job,” said Wallenberg’s head coach, Patrick Mulligan, after the game.
The key stat of the game was Wallenberg’s 21 turnovers in just the first half of play. The suffocating defense of the Bears’ full-court press opened up and allowed for many easy and uncontested scoring opportunities.
“The transition fast-break offense [from Mission] was very strong, and I‘m hoping that they’ll play more cohesively as a team,” said Mulligan.
The Bears forced a total of 29 Wallenberg turnovers.
The game also marked the first time this season that every Bear in uniform was able to score his own field goal.
“Guys that normally don’t get to play a lot played a lot of minutes tonight, and they deserved it. They got hot and they played well.”
Mission had 25 team assists for the game. This balanced offense and unselfish basketball is something that hasn’t been seen much from the Bears this season.
“They put in a new offense for me, and I was able to help in the post. Zelaya gave me a chance and I had to take it,” said senior Darius Grays, who was just one of many factors in the team’s offensive success. Grays contributed with a near double-double, scoring 9 points and pulling down 10 boards, all of which were offensive rebounds.
By far the most efficient performance in the building on Thursday was from the hot hand of senior Alex Aguirre, who scored a career-high 15 points on a blistering 6-8 shooting performance. He hit 3-5 from beyond the three-point arc as his range had the Wallenberg defenders scrambling up and down from the half-court set whenever he was present.
This win improves Mission’s record to 15-8. They remain alone at the top of the LANG division, with an 8-1 record in league play.
The Bears aim to continue to ride the horse on Jan. 31, when they take on the O’Connell Boilermakers.