New Division New Competition

New Division New Competition

Hasan Daniels and Daphne Piña

The Da Vinci boys basketball team, which includes students from Science, Communications, and Design, united together last season to make it to the CIF and state finals leading the beloved team’s rise in its division.



Varsity players such as sophomore Kevin Lagarde, seniors Ethan Cusick, Andre Alexander, Nathaniel Perry, and Tekeste Tekeste helped lead the team to 7-1 league record, which led them to the playoffs. During the playoffs, the team defeated opponents such as Pilgrim, Nuview Bridge, and Duarte to earn them a spot in the CIF championship. CIF is the name of an organization that oversees all of the high school sports in the state of California.


“Last year Kevin Lagarde was an incoming freshman who played a really big role,” said varsity player Ethan  Cusick. “Early on in the year, he played the role of a 6th, 7th man on the bench and then transitioned to a starting point guard who was able to consistently score for us.”


Despite losing the CIF championship to Van Nuys high school by a score of 74-39 during the first round of the state playoffs, the team was presented and took the opportunity to move from division four to five.


“The talent within our competition will definitely get better so that means the team will need to work extra hard in practice and build a better team chemistry on the court to excel in our new division just like the team did last year,” stated junior Trent Mckinney.


To adjust to the new talent within division four, the team will have to work extra hard in practice. The boy’s team is currently conditioning at Del Aire Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and occasionally on Saturday from 4:30-6:00 pm.


The coaching staff hosts conditioning practices before the beginning of the season to ensure their players are capable of playing an entire four quarters of basketball. With getting conditioning out of the way, once they begin practicing Monday through Friday from 4:30-6:00, they can focus more on playing basketball instead of preparing for the season and trying to get in shape.


“We practice 5 days a week, and within those practices, we do a lot of running and we practice running the plays Coach Rudd and the other coaches have drawn out for us so that we can go out and execute on the court,” said point guard Kevin Lagarde.


The team’s bond on and off the court has grown stronger and stronger over the years. With the addition of few players, the team’s chemistry can only get better and hopefully translate into good performance on the court.


“There is a really good bond with the coaches and players. We have really been listening to the coach and really buying into what he’s been saying and trusting him more,” noted Cusick. “Even with our junior varsity coach, we understand that he is somebody we can relate to because he is a little younger and we can joke around with him, but we can also handle business when he asks for it.”


With the season approaching, not only the team but some students and staff within the school have high expectations and expect for the basketball team to continue riding the train of success. With new teams on the schedule such as St.Monica, North Torrance, Cabrillo, and El Segundo these schools will give them a fight, but with all of the hard work the team has applied prior to the season they will be ready for the challenge.


“Last year the season did not end the way we all wanted to, ” stated McKinney. “Our job on the team is to get wins, become better basketball players, and bring home a CIF championship.”