Pirates basketball finish season in state playoffs
Mar 26, 2019 02:20PM
● By Greg James
The Pirates played undersized most of the season yet they continued to wreak havoc amongst their opponents. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Cyprus High School boys basketball team finished second in their region and qualified for the state tournament.
“I feel confident in our season,” Pirates head coach Tre Smith said. “We had some injuries early on, but we got through that and started playing really well. We had a tough holiday tournament to start out. When we had all of our pieces we did very well.”
They started the season on a roll offensively and found themselves on the winning side of three straight and four of their first seven games. They averaged 53.1 points per game in those seven contests, but during the holiday tournament the teams scoring average dropped drastically to 47.2 points per game. The offensive decline led to five straight losses.
Smith attributed the scoring decline to some injuries to key players.
The Pirates finished one game ahead of Granger in second place in Region 2. It’s two victories over the Lancers and a sweep of Hunter were keys to its high region finish.
On Feb. 1, in a pivotal contest against Hunter, the Pirates led at halftime by only four points. The first half had been a seesaw affair. Neither team led by more than six. As the second half began the Pirates applied pressure defensively and made key shots that propelled them to the victory.
“We have been playing really strong,” Smith said. “Against a team like Hunter we knew they would come out and punch us in the mouth. I thought we handled their run very well then we came out in the second half and changed our game plan around. I thought we handled that very well.”
Smith pointed out the game mimicked his team’s season.
“We have the talent and need to play to our potential. Our talent, good athleticism and size should get us to where we need to be. We just need to play at another level on a consistent basis. We have flashes where we play very well and then we have instances where we do not play well at all. It is about consistency. All of the good teams in the state they are consistent,” Smith said.
Senior Tayvon Aloi led the team in scoring averaging 14.9 points per game. He suffered an injury before Christmas. Without him the Pirates struggled. The 6-foot-4 guard also grabbed 4.4 rebounds and dished out 1.9 assists per game.
“Aloi carries our team. He is our guy and we put our trust in him. He missed a few games with injuries and you can tell that we missed him during that time,” Smith said.
He was hurt during the tough holiday tournament impacting the teams scoring average.
Juniors Noah Burbidge and Jordan Orozco Talamante became key supporters by averaging over eight points per game apiece.
“Our entire starting five played lights out and have done a pretty good job,” Smith said.
Junior sharpshooter Jackson Muramoto came off the bench to average seven points per game and had a season high 18 against Northridge in the holiday tournament.
“He (Jackson) is a shooter. When I put him in the game I expect him to hit every three point shot he takes. His role is to come in the game and when he sees space to put it up,” Smith said.
The Pirates lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Riverton 64-54. Aloi scored 18 in his final game.
“I am proud of these kids. We talk about it is what you do when no one is watching that makes the difference. We have good students and good kids on this team,” Smith said. “We have kids that are solid in the classroom, but most of all I want these kids to be good people.”