Boys’ basketball tries to top last year’s state tourney run

Jonathan Christian ‘23 jogging.

With tryouts over, the University High School junior varsity and varsity boys basketball teams have been finalized and have now begun their season!

After a season that saw them reach states for the first time in five years, Coach Alfredo Cardona hopes to repeat last year’s success of qualification to state playoffs. Last year, the team started 8-0 and finished 12-8 to qualify for states, but were not as successful in their second round.

“We had some players not finish the season with us and we struggled down the stretch and finished 12-8, said Coach Cardona. “We were very competitive against the 2nd rank seed and had a lead early in the 4th Qtr. We missed some crucial free throws down the stretch and lost by 6.”

The team ended their season last year with a record of 13-10.

The varsity team is led by seniors Makinton Dophin ‘23 and Jonathan Christian ‘23.

“We are going to go as far as they [Dophin and Christian] take us”, said Coach Cardona.

Other vital players include seniors Qaasim Ali and Jaleel Jaggroo, as well as juniors Ka’ron Wright and Malik Rich.

Varsity Head Coach Cardona, who is in his fourth year coaching varsity strives to, “instill a culture of winning and competitiveness”. He hopes to build up from the team’s success last year and qualify for states again. This is a common goal, as junior Malik Rich ‘24 hopes to make it to the playoffs and stand out in the higher level of competition.

The UHSSE basketball team will compete against schools in the CRAL conference. When asked the toughest competition, Jaleel Jaggroo ‘23 responds, “Our biggest competition is Weaver”.

In sports, we often limit our definition of success to points, but the true wins are the relationships we form through the sports experience.

“My biggest rewards are watching these young men grow up, graduate, and become well rounded members of our community, ” said Coach Cardona. “I maintain a solid relationship with all of my former players. I feel the greatest sense of pride when I see these men graduate from college.”

The UHSSE lost their first game of the season 73-35 to Weaver on Dec. 15.