Boy’s basketball makes it to CIF finals for the first time since 2002

Alex Brown, editor in chief

A battle. Intense. Electrifying. Fun. Those were the words players used to describe last Saturday’s men’s varsity basketball CIF Division III game played at San Marcos against Mount Miguel. The Lancers played in the finals for the first time since head coach Sam Eshelman was a player for Carlsbad in 2002. With a final score of 79-76, Carlsbad ended the game only three points behind after going into triple overtime.

The scores were close the entire game, with both the Lancers and the Matadors taking the lead multiple times. The high stakes in bringing back the title put pressure on both teams, resulting in a long fought game that had all players fighting for the win.

“It was a hard game, but it was a good game,” junior captain Brogan Pietrocini said. “We all fought hard and played our hardest, so that’s all you can ask for.”

The finals game wasn’t the first time that Carlsbad and Mount Miguel had faced off. The Lancers had a previous win against the team in December, but Saturday’s game proved to be a very different environment.

“There was a lot more energy,” freshman Caleb Nelson said. “The first time we played them, there weren’t any fans there. It was still a pretty intense game, but there were a lot more fans there [on Saturday] and the atmosphere was a lot different.”

Because of the close proximity of the game, many members of Loud Crowd came out to support the team. Dressed in purple and equipped with pom-poms, Carlsbad’s student section was full of Lancer pride.

“We got a good amount of people there,” senior captain Isaiah Ramos said. “Especially when it started heating up, everyone got into it. It just meant a lot to us to have such a big crowd at such a big game.”

Although the Lancers didn’t end up with the win, they were still rewarded with the 16th spot in the Division IV state championship bracket. This came as a surprise to the team who thought their season had already ended.

“We were all surprised,” Pietrocini said. “We had our emotional end-of-the-season talk, and then Coach texted us saying we had a game, so we were all pretty surprised.”

Carlsbad ended their season after a game with No. 1 Hillcrest in Riverside last Wednesday. With only three seniors, most of the team is returning and already gearing up for next season.

“I’m definitely looking forward to next year,” Nelson said. “A lot of our guys are returning, so we have a good chance at another run.”