The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Boys’ basketball back up to speed after consecutive losses

Printed with permission of Nicolas Monroe
Nik Khamenia ’25 drives past a defender in a home game against Notre Dame. The loss would be their first in the Mission League for more than a year, ending a 18-game win streak.

Over Martin Luther King Day weekend, the boys’ basketball team traveled to Springfield, Massachusetts to participate for the first time in the HoopHall East Classic, which is “the most prestigious high school [basketball] event on the calendar,” according to ESPN.

The team played McEachern High School (GA) on Jan. 15, ranked 11th in the United States (U.S.), according to MaxPreps. They defeated the Indians from Georgia 60-59 in overtime, and four-star forward Nik Khamenia ’25 was named Player of the Game, finishing with 21 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Khamenia said the game was a team effort and that without his teammates, his achievement would not have been possible.

“They found me open spots [on the court], and [Coach Rebibo] put me in a lot of positions to be successful,” Khamenia said.

Two days later, the Wolverines played Notre Dame High School, a highly anticipated opponent, who they beat 85-78 in double overtime last year. The team had the support of a packed school student section in Taper Gymnasium and over three thousand broadcast viewers on HWTV.

To start the game, the Wolverines came out in the first quarter with a 21-10 lead, forcing multiple timeouts from Notre Dame. The Knights then took a 23-21 lead after nine straight points from four-star Houston commit Mercy Miller.

Guard Christian Horry ’24 said that the team was not playing up to their standard.

“Honestly, we weren’t playing our best basketball, especially when it came to rebounding as a team,” Horry said. “We didn’t do our job of containing [Miller] as much as we should have.”

The Wolverines were able to keep the game close, which was tied 44-44 at the end of the third. In the end, the defense could not stop Notre Dame’s Miller, who finished the game with 29 points. The Knights left with a victory, the final score being 54-59. Despite the team’s loss, Horry finished with 12 points, and guard Trent Perry ’24 finished with 22 points. It would be their first loss in the Mission League in over a year, breaking a streak that lasted 18 games.

Two days after that, the Wolverines looked to redeem themselves against Sierra Canyon High School, California’s No. 5 team, Jan. 19. They kept their offense strong and held their lead up until the fourth quarter. However, with five minutes left in the fourth, senior shooting guard Justin Pippen, with the help of junior guard Bryce Cofield, led an 18-0 run against the Wolverines with six threes. The final score of the game was 68-74. It would be the first time the team had lost back-to-back games since the 2021 season.

The week after, the Wolverines went on the road to play against Chaminade High School, beating them 78-46 in Mission League game on Jan. 24. Then on senior night against St. Francis High School, the Wolverines beat the Golden Knights 64-33.

Just a day later, the team would play in the Nike Extravaganza, an annual showcase Jan. 27. In the final game of the regular season against Foothill High School, the team put up a strong defensive performance against the Knights, pulling away with a double-digit lead in the second half. The team finished the regular season record 22-3 and a league record of 5-2.

The Mission League Tournament begins Jan. 30, where the team will play the winner of Alemany and Loyola at home. If the Wolverines win, the team will advance to play Notre Dame on the road. If they win the semifinal, they will play Sierra Canyon on the road Jan. 27.

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