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South East soccer on the rise, basketball declines

The Jaguars tip-off their game vs. crosstown rival South Gate Rams. Photo by Miguel Moran/Jaguar Times

As the regular season for winter sports such as soccer and basketball came to an end earlier this month, playoffs for both sports followed. The Jaguars’ soccer and basketball played their best all season to try to earn a coveted spot in playoffs. However, both sports had different results.

Since last season, the soccer team has been a favorite to win a City Section championship. However, this season, the soccer team had a rocky start. Starting the season 5-9-2 before Eastern League play began, it didn’t look like the team was a favorite to win a City Section title.

In order to recover from that rocky start and get back into winning shape, head coach Felipe Bernal said, “We did multiple things outside of the field in the last month to [build] the team’s chemistry.”

Bernal tried to do anything he could to get the team back to their winning ways. “We did different [team building] activities, because I thought the guys were under pressure to win at the beginning [of the season],” added Bernal.

Those off-the-field activities seemed to work because when the team got into league play, they started winning. They swept the season series between Garfield and Jordan. The team did not lose against Huntington Park and crosstown rival South Gate, earning one win and a tie from both schools. The Jaguars’ lost to Roosevelt and Garfield at home.

The boys soccer team ended a 13-11-5 overall record and a 7-2-3 league record, earning them a share of the Eastern League title with Huntington Park High School. The team earned the sixth seed in the CIF LA City Section Division II Championship playoffs.

A lot of the mistakes we made early on in the season helped us out,” said co-captain Andrew Castillo, a senior in the Justice, Law, and Service small school, commenting about bouncing back from a rocky start and becoming co-Eastern League champions.

“We had a lot of games to practice and to get to know each other as a team before actually going into league [play],” added Castillo.

The team showed that they were ready for playoffs after their strong finish of the regular season.

“I think we are ready. We’ve been preparing for most of the season and we just got to give it our all,” said co-captain Hector Jimenez, a senior in the Health, Science, and Environment small school.

The Jaguars’ first opponent was Cesar Chavez High School from San Fernando. The Jaguars won the game by a score of 4-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinals, the Jaguars faced Rivera High School from south central Los Angeles. They won that matchup by a score of 5-2 and advanced to the semifinals and defeated Reseda High School by a score of 1-0 to advance to the CIF LA City Section Division II Boys Championship game.

Their opponent was no.1 seed Fremont High School.

The Jaguars took an early 1-0 lead in the first half after scoring via penalty kick.

The Jaguars unfortunately lost the game 2-1 in overtime.

The Jaguars cried and wept as the Fremont Pathfinders celebrated.

While soccer wins and advances into playoffs, basketball is a different story.

The Jaguar basketball team had a season mostly everyone would like to forget. They ended with a 5-20 overall record and a 1-11 Eastern League record, winning their only league game against Huntington Park.

“I think we did good. We had no [returning] varsity players from last year so they all came from JV, said head coach Rascheed Tapscott about the basketball team’s season.

“I think we did really well but the record doesn’t show that. The practice and [hard work] show that,” added Tapscott.

Daniel Aguilar, a sophomore in the Business, Innovation, and Leadership small school, part of that young team said that the record is, “nothing but a number.”

“We played our hearts out this season and that’s what counts,” added Aguilar.

Despite the 5-21 overall record and 1-11 league record, the Jaguars somehow managed to make it to playoffs. They earned the 15th seed in the CIF LA City Section Division III Championship.

Their first-round matchup was an away game against Robert F. Kennedy High School from the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles near Koreatown. They lost that matchup by a score of 61-50.

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