Taper history includes hardware, win streaks

Chronicle Staff

Three of the four walls are covered in the black, white and red banners that celebrate the school’s
post-merger athletic glory. Trophies adorn the main entrance, boasting of individual accomplishments, like Jill Oakes’ ’02 National Player of the Year award for girls’ soccer, and team achievement, like several of the school’s CIF and state championship trophies.
Large signs urge sportsmanship to the cheering fans who make it the loudest high school gym in Southern California on game days, according to a high school basketball website, socalhoops.com.

Indeed, there is nothing that represents Harvard-Westlake athletics more than Taper Gymnasium.

The gym can fit varying capacities for meetings, but the sets of benches are normally extended all the
way out for the four sports teams that play there year round: boys’ and girls’ volleyball, who play there in the spring and fall, respectively, and boys’ and girls’ basketball, who both play in the winter.

The gym has perks and quirks all its own. The two scoreboards installed in 2001 provide the Fanatics
in the stands with a more complete set of information than many other high schools, including
individual player statistics. In addition, the Athletic Department has supplemented the gym proper with
ground-floor training facilities, such as video projection systems for watching game film in the locker
room and a weight room that has been featured in a Fox Sports West television show.

“I’d say it’s one of the top ten gyms in Southern California,” boys’ basketball center Zane Ma ’08
said.

Between the feel of a home court and the student sections that the gym can field, no venue seems to
inspire success in the Wolverines as much as Taper. “It’s a great multi-purpose facility,” Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas said. “[And] it’s always alive.”

The feeling inspires winning traditions across the spectrum. Until last Thursday’s home loss to Notre
Dame, girls’ basketball had not lost on that floor for almost a year, and two of the other three teams have streaks that far surpass that one. The boys’ basketball team has not lost in Taper for three years,
since Feb. 2, 2005 when they lost to Loyola. Girls’ volleyball’s last loss in Taper came in 2005 as well.
Their Oct. 13 defeat that year by Flintridge Sacred Heart spurred their current winning streak, which
has continued through their last season and its state title run.