Jesuit Basketball team ready to secure victory in playoff run

Plank Article Marcos Lopez ’23

From Feb. 2 to Feb. 11, Jesuit High School Sacramento’s varsity basketball team played five games. They went 3-2 over this span to close out the regular season with a record of 13-13. 

In the first game on Feb. 2, Jesuit beat the Cosumnes Oaks High School Wolfpack 76-66 at Cosumnes Oaks, which brought their record to 11-11.

The Wolfpack kept the score close for some stretches, but the Marauders were able to hold them off with a convincing 10-point victory. Forward Andrej Stojakovic ’23 had another great scoring performance, finishing with 43 points by the final horn. Guard Owen Ubaldo ’23 also chipped in 10 points along with playing solid defense, grabbing two steals and one block. 

This victory brought the Marauders to a four game winning streak. Andrej highlights the team’s chemistry and how it’s been helping them win games.

“I think we’re playing some of our best basketball on this winning streak,” Andrej said. “We were clicking and getting ready for this playoff run.”  

That same confidence was carried over into the next game on Feb. 3 against Franklin High School, in which Jesuit defeated the Wildcats 66-53. This road game victory brought the Marauders’ record to 12-11. Andrej again led all scorers in the game with 33 points, along with five rebounds and one assist. 

Building on the winning streak, Andrej elaborates on his recent production in the scoring department for Jesuit over the last few games. 

“I think I played pretty well,” Andrej said. “Especially the last two weeks have been good as far as production. But the games that we’ve lost there’s always more that I could’ve done.”

In the third game, Jesuit lost to the Elk Grove High School Thundering Herd on Feb. 7 in a thrilling 53-51 defeat in overtime. Despite Andrej’s 35 points, the Thundering Herd were able to notch out the victory after a hard-fought, low scoring game with several lead changes. 

Jesuit Head Varsity Basketball Coach Mr. Tim Kelly expresses how the team will need to adjust to the atmosphere of close games such as this one if they want to win since it will be identical to the high intensity of a playoff game. 

“I told the team that these games are kind of like playoff games,” Coach Kelly said. “Each team has scouted each other really well; we know the other team’s players really well, and that’s what you hope to have in playoffs too. You hope to scout them really well and know what they’re going to do, and you expect the other team to know that about you. So it’s going to be tough, physical basketball and it helps us get ready for playoffs.”

The Marauders bounced back Feb. 9 against Pleasant Grove High School, winning by a score of 67-55. Many players contributed effectively to the win, such as guard Austin Stuart ’22 who scored 13 points and grabbed three steals. Similar to the COHS game, the Eagles went stride-for-stride with Jesuit until the Marauders pulled away in the fourth quarter. 

Austin attests to the comments Coach Kelly made about growing in confidence for playoffs and the teams they will be facing.

“The teams we played these last few days are definitely playoff-caliber teams, ” Austin said. “So we just have to take it day by day in terms of confidence and mindset.” 

In the last game of the season, the Marauders looked to capitalize on their win against Pleasant Grove and gather momentum for the playoffs against Sheldon High School; however, the Huskies pulled out the victory with a close score of 57-52 after Jesuit led at the half but failed to continue their second quarter success. 

Andrej, who scored 23 points in the match-up, describes how the team struggled defensively coming out of the first half. 

“We had them for most of the game,” Andrej said. “[...] and then we let them sneak a couple points in at the beginning of the second half and that’s kind of where it went downhill. We weren’t communicating as much, either.” 

With this understanding, the Marauders look to learn from their mistakes and come into the playoffs with newfound confidence to secure a win against the Vacaville High School Bulldogs tonight at 7 p.m. at Jesuit. Show out your support today and wear white. Go big red!