Boys varsity basketball handles adversity, finishes strong in first round of CIF


Jason Harward co-editor-in-chief
The boys varsity basketball team advanced to the second round of the CIF Division 2AA playoffs with a 71-53 home win over the Buena Park Coyotes last night.
The Normans struggled early, trailing 20-12 at the end of the first quarter. Senior captain Navid Nour, who missed the entire season with a serious knee injury, recounted how coach Jarvis Turner helped the team overcome the early setback.
“Jarvis really gave us a nice talk after the first quarter and kept telling us we came a long way and we deserve better than this,” Nour said.
The second quarter was truly the turning point of the game, as the Normans outscored Buena Park 18-7, led by sophomore guard Ben Ramirez’s eight points in the quarter.
Leading 30-27 at the half, the team never looked back, fending off some runs from Buena Park to win by a large margin. Freshman forward Blake Laner, who scored eight points off the bench, attributed the change to a more aggressive strategy.
“We did better in transition and we kept pushing on fastbreaks because they weren’t getting back on defense so we kept pushing the ball,” Lander said.
Ramirez led the Normans in points with 23, hitting five threes, including one from almost half court. Junior forward Chandler Sooferian and senior guard Daniel Zahabian added 15 and 16 points, respectively.
For senior forward Jarred Asars, the way the team handled adversity showed how close they are to one another.
“I think our love for each other and our brotherhood [pushed us through],” Asars said. “We all came together and we were like ‘Our season’s not ending now.’”
The second round of the Division 2AA bracket continues tomorrow, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., pitting Beverly against Capistrano Valley High School, which boasts an impressive 23-6 record on the year. However, Friday’s game is at home, where the Normans are 10-0 in regular season play.