Sports Column Issue #3

Logan Holland

Dear fans, we miss you

The Coronavirus has once again caused the absence of spectators from the stands. This year West-Co combined the roar of both the tiger and lion, generating an electric atmosphere. The spectacle of our student body thundering down with applause was phenomenal to experience. Now it is the eerie silence of stadiums, hearing nothing but Nikes screech against the hardwood and chatter amongst teammates. Players have had to create their own atmosphere to counter the brief non-attendance of fans. The roar of lion and tiger is faint, but our athletes triumph because that’s just what we do at West County. We fall and we get right back up! 

As the winter sports season comes to a close, the West County Word got the opportunity to catch up with some of our very own senior athletes before they suit up for the last time. 

The girls basketball squad is having a heck of a season collecting 18 wins and only four losses. Senior guard Lucca Lowenberg leads the team in scoring. She averages around 17 points a game with her suburb shooting behind the arc. Lucca remarked that she’ll miss “having all her friends to cheer you on and seeing the school spirit”. Lucca plans on playing ball in college and majoring in Kinesiology. She may as well be called the Round Mound of Rebound because Ellie Roan averages a monsterous 11 boards per game. Her physicality and tenacity draw comparisons to the likes of all-time greats such as Charles Barkley. She will be attending Boston University for D-1 Track and Field, where she will participate in shotput. Senior Talia Husary averages an impressive seven points and five rebounds a game and plans on playing for the Palestinian national team when she graduates.  Sophia Silveria disclosed her favorite memory was receiving a pair of knee pads before a game in 6th grade, then subsequently tearing a hole through them while playing. She recalled the smiles on her teammates’ faces that game and the “exhilarating feeling” of playing in front of a large audience. 

The varsity boys have shown a lot of resilience this season, making multiple comebacks. Most notably the team faced a nine point deficit going into half-time against Ukiah (and the night before got beat up on by Piner.) Senior Guard and team captain Bucky Strom set the tone with his defensive prowess and determination to track down loose balls. West-Co eventually went on to win the game by 18 points. Senior forward and mid-range maestro, David Kadlec, described the gratification of sharing the court with some of his best friends and the “hype generated from a large come-back”. Lars Lundequist said “hitting a buzzer-beater against Petaluma to send the game into overtime” and watching the crowd detonate his freshman year was his most memorable moment on the team.  He currently averages around 10 points per game for West County. Overcoming injuries has been Lars’s greatest challenge of the season, as every time Lars shoots the ball, I assume it has already found its way into the basket.

Zooming out of West-County, Klay Thompson made his season debut, after missing almost two years of basketball due to tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA finals and Achilles in the 2020 offseason. The five-time all star spent tireless hours in the gym rehabbing to make his return where he was greeted with an eruption of cheers from loyal fans as he made his way onto the court. He put up 17 points and helped the Warriors secure the win against the Cavaliers. Thompson’s world class three point shooting and lockdown defense is something the dubs have missed. Despite being top three in their respective conference prior to Thomspon’s return, many believe that adding #11 will push them over the edge for a championship run. In other Warriors news, Stephen Curry recently made 2,977 threes surpassing Ray Allen for the most 3pt makes. Although recently Curry has simmered down from behind the arc and has essentially shot his way out of the MVP race.

The emergence of a new super-star has taken the NBA by storm. Ja Morant’s high-flying theatrics and electric play have led the Grizzlies to be one of the top teams in the league.  Despite being only 6’3 his quickness and body control allows him to knife through the lane, drawing comparisons to the youngest MVP ever Derrick Rose. Another emerging young team are the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by third year point guard Darius Garland. Garland was statistically the worst player in the league his rookie year due to being sped up by the physicality of NBA defenses. Now, Garland has broken out into (all)stardom with his shifty crossovers and elite playmaking. Finally, Kyrie Irving has made his official return to the Brooklyn Nets. Irving can still only play in away games because of his vaccination status and New York State requirements. Some questioned how long it would take him to shake off the rust after not playing in nearly 4 months, but those questions were answered rather quickly as he scored 22 points in his debut. 

The NFL has had the best sports games of the year. The football playoffs started in January and every game has been a thriller. In the divisional round, both number one seeds were upset and the Titans/Packers had to clear their lockers earlier than anticipated. The snowy conditions and freezing temperatures made it impossible to catch the football. After entering halftime, kicking a field goal in the drive prior, sparks of life emerged in the 49ers. Swiss army-knife wide receiver Deebo Samuel erupted for a massive performance that helped seal the victory for the Niners.  Bengals kicker Evan Mcphearson, before hitting a 52 yard walk off field goal, told star QB Joe Burrow, “Welp…looks like we are going to the AFC Championship”. 

At the time potentially being Tom Brady’s last season in the NFL, the Bucs were under immense pressure after being down 27 at the half. This wasn’t Tom Brady’s first rodeo, in 2017 Brady came back from down 27 to three against the Atlanta Falcons. Brady slowly clawed back the deficit, eventually tying the game. His heroics weren’t enough, as Mathew Stafford marched down the field and won the game. Concluding the memorable weekend, the Bills sought their revenge on the Kansas City Chiefs, who thwarted their Super Bowl aspirations last year. Both quarterbacks had legendary performances, each having the highest passer rating in NFL history. Another interesting stat is that no two opposing qbs have thrown for at least 325 yards, at least three TDs, no interceptions and rushed for 60 yards in the history of the league. 

 The final two minutes of the ballgame were ecstatic. Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis in the endzone on fourth down, to put the Bills up three. Then with less than a minute, Mahomes found “the Cheetah” streaking across the field for a 75 yard TD. Allen followed up by throwing another touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis. Thirteen seconds remained on the clock and Patrick Mahomes constructed a miracle drive that set up for a field goal, sending the game into OT.

NFL rules state that in overtime, the first team to score a touchdown wins the game. Josh Allen elected to select tails on the coin toss. The referee flipped the coin and revealed it to be heads, giving Mahomes and the chiefs the ball. The Chiefs marched up the field and Travis Kelce caught the game winning touchdown.

The next round featured the Los Angeles Rams defeating the San Francisco 49ers. Odell Beckham Jr. had a phenomenal game, finishing with nine receptions for 113 receiving yards. After the loss, many around the league are questioning what Jimmy Garropolo’s future will be with the 49ers. Recently, the 49ers drafted dual-threat QB Trey Lance and it appears he will be the focus of the organization moving forward.

The Bengals were down three to 21 against the red-hot Chiefs, whose offense was rolling. Prior to half-time Joe Burrow threw a 40 yard touchdown, which swung the momentum of the game. Cincinnati would grind their way back to tie up the game at 21 all at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter featured both teams going on extensive drives down the field, both resulting in field goals. As a result the game got sent into overtime in which the Chiefs won the coin toss again. It looked as if Mahomes was going to secure another game winning drive, but took a deep shot down field which got picked off by safety Vonn Bell. Joe Burrow stepped on the field with tremendous moxy and set up Mcphearson for a short kick to win the game. 

Super Bowl 56 will see the Rams face off against Joe Burrow and the Bengals on February 13th. Let me know at who you think will prevail.