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  • Adam S

Winter Sports Preview

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

Now that the winter sports season is underway, I felt that it was crucial to provide some deep insight into each team’s identity on the field/court this year: this is the 2022 Cougar Winter Sports Informational brought to you by Adam Sutro.


MEN’S VARSITY BASKETBALL


ROSTER

Coach: Sef Sunia


G = guard, F = forward, C = center – (height, middle school, player comp.)

G: Abraham (Abe) QC ‘23 (5’ 11”, Contra Costa Jewish School, Trae Young)

G: Charlie H ‘23 (5, 9”, Jalen Brunson)

G: Joseph P ‘24 (5’ 8”, Tyrese Haliburton)

G: Mason B ‘24 (5’ 10”, Bentley, Kelly Oubre Jr.)

F: Myles N ‘23 (6’ 1”, Bentley, Demar Derozan)

F: Hargobind (Hargo) B ‘24 (6’ 0”, Kelly Olynyk)

F: Nathaniel (Nate) I ‘23 (6’1”, Redwood Day, Paolo Banchero)

F: Edward (Eddie) S ‘24 (6’ 2”, Bentley, Anthony Davis)

F: Gardner R ‘25 (6’ 1”, St. Brendan’s, DeAndre Ayton)

C: Jude P ‘23 (6’1”, Piedmont, Steven Adams)

C: Michael (Mikey) H ‘24 (6’ 4”, Fred T Korematsu, Jusuf Nurkic)


Departed Seniors (class of 2022):

Damon Fitzpatrick

Marius Mahshi

Owen Jung

Sivan Faruqui

Mathew Jeung

Tylor Lee


SCHEDULE

---> Rivalry Games:

Head Royce - home (1/10), Athenian - away (1/20), Head Royce - away (1/27), Athenian - home (2/7)


---> The remaining home schedule:

Eastside College Prep (12/16), Drew (12/17), Redwood Christian (1/5), Valley Christian (1/17), Bentley (1/31)


TEAM INSIGHT


Varsity head coach Sef Sunia prides himself on defense. Last year, I played in the College Prep basketball program, and I went to summer workouts with the team in June. With this experience, I can tell you that if Sunia wants his varsity boys to be anything, he wants them to be the fittest, hardest playing defensive group in the league.


On paper, this team has what it takes to fit this defensive identity. Our team, on average, is a pretty tall group, with our average height being 6’ 0” flat. While we don’t have the overwhelming height of league powerhouses such as Athenian and Head Royce, at large we have the height and length to compete with most teams. Sunia will get this team in defensive shape, and they’ll be ready to run baseline to baseline for an entire game.


Additionally, from inside-the-team source Gardner R, it seems clear that the Cougars will play a lot of zone, using their length, height, and general quickness to defend the perimeter while preventing paint penetration. Since the Cougars aren’t very big, with Mikey being the only traditional center (and Jude playing stretch center on occasion), the paint will be the hardest area for this team to defend. Playing a zone will help them to take away paint action, by cutting off passing lanes and preventing offenses from getting inside.


Offense will be more of a struggle for this group, as we are without a staple method for offensive output. Their major scorers last season were Damon Fitzpatrick, Marius Mahshi and Owen Jung, and with them all off in college, there will be a significant gap for this squad to fill.


However, there are clear prospects for offensive production if the Cougars can find a way to execute an organized attack. Seniors Abe and Myles can be expected to take on a large portion of the scoring this season. Abe has a deadly shooting stroke, with a quick release which he strengthened over the summer. He has already dropped 17 points in a game this season, and will look to continue to play a major role. Myles (although he will be injured to start the season), is arguably the most athletic player on the team, with a top-tier finishing package around the rim and a smooth, difficult to contest mid-range jumpshot.


Other key offensive weapons include Nate, who will be a swiss-army knife for the group. Nate is an absolute tank, and his strength will surely make him a very formidable force in the paint and during transition opportunities. Junior Joseph Pak is playing in his second season on varsity. He will be the orchestrator of the offense, but he also has a quick and deadly shot which can light on fire at any instance. Gardner Reese has emerged as a key weapon around the bucket, playing the glass and scoring a lot of easy points off of put backs (watch out for his breakout season). Eddie Starr, another junior, will give needed length and versatility to the squad, which will be especially effective on the defensive end. Of course, Mikey and Jude, the biggest on the team, will look to play the glass and to bang their way to some paint buckets.


Season prediction? While the Cougars can’t pull off a victory against Athenian or Head Royce, they do win the majority of their home games, collecting punctuating victories over Drew and Bentley.


WOMEN’S VARSITY BASKETBALL


ROSTER

Coach: Daniella Bargas


You can be the judge of whether or not these heights and player comp’s are accurate…

G = guard, F = forward, C=center – (height, middle school, player comp.)

C: Tara V ‘23 (6’ 0”, Draymond Green)

G: Alexandra K ‘24 (5’ 5”, École Bilingue de Berkeley, Stephen Curry)

G: Macie White ‘24 (7’ 10”, Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy, Tim Duncan)

G: Jacqueline S ‘25 (5’ 3”, Redwood Day)

Katherine R ‘25 (2’ 1”, Black Pine Circle, Draymond Green)

Aziza W ‘26 (Redwood Day, Draymond Green)

Daniella S ‘26 (6’ 3”, Head Royce, Stephen Curry)

Deirdre B ‘26 (All Saints)

Kaia D ‘26 (Hillcrest)


Departed Seniors (Class of 2022):

Sarah Jonath


SCHEDULE


---> Rivalry Games:

Head Royce - home (1/10), Athenian - home (1/20), Head Royce - home (1/27), Athenian - away (2/7)


---> The remaining home schedule:

Making Waves (12/8), International (12/9), St. Vincent’s (12/17), Albany (1/3), Redwood Christian (1/5), Bentley (1/13)


TEAM INSIGHT


The most important aspect in sports is having fun. Spending time with friends, doing the activity you love, and just having fun.


The girls on the women’s varsity basketball team have had a rough start to the year. Last year's coach couldn't return, generational senior star Sarah Jonath left for college, and many players from last year’s squad, key pieces for the team, decided that the timing wasn’t right for them to play this year.


But yet, a team still found a way to take shape, and a wonderful season is still ahead for these Cougar girls who just want to have fun playing the great sport of basketball.


The most exciting thing about the Cougars’ women’s basketball program this season is the four incoming freshmen: Aziza W, Daniella S, Deirdre B, and Kaia D are bound to bring life to this team for years to come, and their development will be key to future success.


I talked to Joss M, the scorekeeper, after Tuesday’s game against Marin Academy, and he spoke on the talent of the freshmen, stating, “Their hustle and ball control is truly inspiring.”


As the freshmen continue to get more game experience, and time on the floor, it is inevitable that their scoring will continue to exponentially improve.


The core of this team, however, will continue to be senior captain Tara V. Tara is the air that this team breathes. She brings leadership, experience, and athleticism to this young group. When talking to the lone sophomore baller Jacq S, she explained to me that Tara is truly what is keeping the team together. As she was set to be the only senior on the team, Tara faced pressure to abandon the squad. However, she’s stuck with them, and continues to be a powerful force for the Cougars. In the paint, Tara uses her strong frame to position herself close to the basket. Look for her to do the bulk of the scoring for this team.


My prediction: we hang with either Head Royce or Athenian in one of this years’ rivalry games. The Jayhawks and the Owls are likely to be the top teams in BCL this year, and it would be a major win for the Cougars to hang with them…don’t be surprised if we do.


WOMEN’S VARSITY SOCCER


ROSTER

Coach: Michael Osei-Amoako


D = defender, W = wing, M = midfielder, G = goalie

Amaryllis M ‘23

Jasmine S ‘23 (5’ 3”, Live Oak School of SF, Kyllian Mbappe)

Lilah D ‘23 (5’ 4”, School of the Madeleine)

Maia B ‘23 (5’ 5”, Hillcrest, Mason Mount)

Mira P ‘23 (5’2”, Seven Hills, Casemiro)

Nalini S ‘23

D: Neela M (5’ 6”, Prospect Sierra)

W: Ruby S ‘23 (5’ 8”, Lionel Messi)

D: Claire W ‘23 (5’ 5”, Alameda Community LC)

Adele B ‘24

Kate S ‘24

Katherine W ‘24

Mariko G ‘24

Paige S ‘24

Anne S ‘25

Makeda F ‘25 (Head Royce)

Kira H ‘25 (5’ 4”, St. Paul’s, Carli Lloyd)

W: Sara F ‘25 (5’ 4”, Joaquin Moraga)

Sophia J ‘25 (Head Royce)

D: Sylvia L ‘25 (5’ 3”, Park Day School)

Aarushi B ‘26 (Black Pine Circle)

M: Anika S ‘26 (5’ 4”, The Dorris-Eaton School)

M: Beatrice W ‘26 (5’ 3”, Redwood Day, Brandi Chastain)

D: Ellie R ‘26 (5’ 1”, Stanley)

W: Lila M ‘26 (5’ 5”, Redwood Day, Crystal Dunn)

Sabrina K ‘26 (Bentley)

Samana S ‘26 (5’ 3”, Stratford)

Sophia B ‘26 (Orinda Intermediate School)

Sophia H ‘26 (Hamlin)

Tess W ‘26 (Chinese American International School)


Departed Seniors (Class of 2022):

None


SCHEDULE


---> Rivalry Games:

Head Royce - away (1/18), Head Royce - home (1/31), and no remaining Athenian games


---> The remaining home schedule:

International (12/8), San Domenico (12/13), St. Joseph’s (1/10), Bentley (1/13), Valley Christian (1/20), Redwood Christian (1/24)


TEAM INSIGHT


One of the defining traits of this year’s senior class, men and women, is their talent and commitment to College Prep soccer. The class of 2023 has a combined 17 soccer seniors (10 men, 7 women), a complete juxtaposition to last year’s small group of 5 (all men).


With the strong senior presence amongst this year’s teams, the goal before the year was clear: sweep BCL soccer championships.


The men’s soccer team completed an undefeated season earlier this year and indeed took the BCL title, winning NCS for the first time in season history through a 3-1 victory over Sonoma Academy. But throughout all the excitement about this long awaited championship, there was still a sense of unfinished business hanging in the air. Coach Amoako knew that his job wasn’t done.


“They’re next,” Amoako said.


While the NCS title marked the end of the men’s seniors’ soccer journey, it also marked the beginning of the women’s quest to complete the BCL sweep.


This team absolutely has the tools to make a run for the BCL title in February. Last year, the Cougars lost the BCL title to Head Royce via tiebreaker (according to Max Preps data), but they’ve lost no seniors and only have room to get better this season In other words, the floor hasn’t changed, but the ceiling for their success is higher than ever.


The talent of this senior class is remarkable, and truly generational. Of course, there’s the face of the College Prep soccer program, Columbia University (D1) commit Maia B, who at midfielder is the centerpiece of the Cougars’ offense. She brings a wicked combination of speed (state caliber cross country runner), skill, and leadership. Yet, then there’s also Claire Wong, the “brick wall”, as Maia B describes, and Mira Patel, who together fortify the back line with poise and skill. We also have Neela M with her top notch crosses, and many more key role players.


Junior and underclassmen representation is also strong. Kate S, who has strong composure and control, will be playing goalie. Mariko G will be a key attacking piece with great technicality. Sophomores, NY (if you know the team, you know NY), Kira Heller and Sara Fibrichova have valuable club experience and are bound to continue to be a part of the team’s identity. Maia B dreams of combo plays with NY, slicing up the opposition with a combination of passing precision and scoring menace. The group is very excited about their freshmen additions, especially the prospect of Anika S’s abilities to contribute to the group with her speed and touch control.


With the talent this Cougar squad has on the front lines, they’re always trying to wreak havoc on their opponents, constantly on the offensive.


Maia, when speaking on the identity Coach Amoako preaches for them to achieve, states, “Performance over result: we play to disorganize the defense.”


The Cougars lineup in a 4-3-3 formation, which places four players on defense, and puts the other six (minus the goalie) on the offensive, lining up at the midfield and playing as attackers. Maia explains that the team is always looking to change the point of attack, find the weak side, and execute their goal-scoring opportunities. So far this year they’ve done just that, scoring a whopping 58 goals in their opening 5 games.


Defensively, the Cougars are constantly pressing up, looking to control possession with confidence that their defenders can take care of counterattacks. If they steal the ball in their opponent's half of the field, you best believe that they will take it straight to the goal. No missed chances!


A prediction: last year, the Cougars failed to take down Head Royce, tying them at Head Royce, and losing to them 2-1 at home. This year, the Cougars will sweep the Jayhawks, beating them by multiple goals in at least one of their matchups. DON’T miss these rivalry games—they're sure to be competitive, dramatic, and extremely entertaining. These games will define whether the Cougars complete their preseason BCL title goal—the stakes won’t get any higher.

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