Over Christmas break, the men’s and women’s varsity basketball teams were given the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a series of three games against some quality competition in the Bay Area. This trip was a great bonding experience for both teams as well as a necessary push into district play and the second half of our seasons. Coach Kevin Mouton designed and scheduled this trip. He grew up in the area and set us up to play against two school teams he attended; it was a great full-circle moment.
The trip started with a bright and early flight from Houston to Oakland. Once arriving in California, both of our teams checked into the hotel and headed to explore Pier 39. After wandering the pier, we all headed to practice. A few hours later and we were meeting in the hotel lobby, loading the vans and heading to a pizza dinner. After a fun evening of food and fellowship, we reloaded the buses and made it an early night.
The next day was packed. Early that morning, we headed back to Pier 39, where we boarded a boat and toured the whole bay. We went past the shipping channels, under the Golden Gate Bridge and circled Alcatraz. After our boat ride, it was time for the first of our three games. Our team got down early, adjusting to the differing rules in California, most notably the addition of a shot clock. However, at the beginning of the second half, we went on an 8-0 run and were back in the game. It went down to the wire, but we ended the day 1-0.
“It was a tough game, but we had a really good comeback toward the end. I’m proud of how we kept the lead and maintained our composure in the second half,” said Kaitlyn Kollomorgen ‘20.
Next, the men suited up for a tough game against a strong varsity men’s team. They fought hard and played well, but were ultimately overmatched.
The next day, we played our next games at Dougherty Valley High School. We started out the game strong, running the floor and quickly stacking up points against the Wildcat defense. However, they fought back and made some big shots, making it a competitive and entertaining game. We ended the game up 15 points, winning our second game of the trip.
The men’s team game started out pretty strong, but they faced a very tough Wildcat team. They kept it close but ended up dropping the second game.
Kevin Blume ‘21 said, “I am really proud of how we came together as a team to support each other and encourage one another.”
After breakfast on our last full day, we headed to our final games. In the first few minutes of the game, we found ourselves down by a lot and unable to make anything happen offensively. However, we settled into our pace in the second quarter and found ourselves in a dog fight with a big James Logan team. We got tired in the second half and were unable to sustain ourselves while the Colts had a bench full of players ready to come into the game. We ended up losing the game by 15 points but had a great battle.
Before the men’s game began, there was a ceremony on the court honoring Coach Mouton. He played at Logan for his junior and senior year of upper school, so Logan brought out his old teammates and gave him a framed jersey of his retired number as a gift. Our men's team started out their game with a spark and went into halftime with a close game against an offensively sound Logan team. Some underclassmen really stepped up, scoring high numbers throughout the game. Our men's team ended up losing, but fought hard and gave a glimpse into the big things they will accomplish in the future.
“We have what is considered a 'young' team and our goal is for the players to get to know each other better on and off the court. This leads to more encouragement of each other and playing as one unit,” said Coach Mouton.
Both teams headed home early the next morning, very grateful for the trip. Not only did we play great competition, but we also had a blast exploring and learning about the Bay Area. It is a huge blessing to go to a school that realizes the significance of both athletics and academics and works to make sure that they align.
“We had a lot of fun on the trip and exploring San Francisco but we also accomplished a lot as a basketball team, setting us up for success in the second half of our season,” said Emily Blackmon ‘20.
This trip was a tipping point in both of our seasons and I cannot wait to see what we will all accomplish in the second half this year.