Highlanders boys basketball goes even in two scrimmages

Highlanders defeat Justice, fall to Annandale

With fall sports coming to an end, McLean winter sports are up and running, and boys varsity basketball is looking to get off to a hot start. 

“We are looking to win our district this year and have a strong playoff run,” senior guard Zach Hasan said.

 The Highlanders took on Annandale High School in their last scrimmage on Tuesday, Nov. 23, before the start of the season. Even though the Highlanders blew out Justice High School in their first scrimmage, they fell short against the Annandale Atoms. 

“As a team, we look strong all around but there are always things we can improve and work on to become more deadly,” Hasan said.

Northern Virginia Liberty District scrimmages are scored differently than exhibition games. A scrimmage consists of five separate quarters, instead of the standard four. The score resets at the beginning of each new quarter, and the first team to win three quarters wins the scrimmage. 

“We play five periods, and after each period we reset the score. Each period may have a different rule such as every foul is a one-on-one or no free throws, but the rest is generally the same as a normal game,” Hasan said.

The Atoms narrowly escaped the Highlanders after 5 quarters of action, but the Highlanders were nonetheless pleased with their performance. 

“We came out hard and ran the floor well, but some of our screens and sets were sloppy and needed sharpening,” junior guard Jakob Luu said.

Even after the semi-positive result of the last two scrimmages, varsity head coach Mike O’Brien had some criticisms for the team.

“We need to have more patience on offense and be able to change defenses seamlessly,” O’Brien said. 

The Highlanders scoring in transition, however, is a deadly sight for opposing teams. 

“We score very well in transition. We have run really well in our two scrimmages,” O’Brien said. 

The Highlanders fell short in their first regular season game on Nov. 30, losing to Westfield High by a score of 61-45. O’Brien hopes his team can put up a better performance against the Madison Warhawks tomorrow.

“Westfield is usually very physical and aggressive,” O’Brien said. “We have potential to have multiple scorers or multiple leading scorers each night, though.”

The Highlanders haven’t started off too hot in the beginning of the season with a close loss against Oakton and a loss against Madison. 

O’Brien and his players are looking ahead to a better season in front of them.

“I think we will be a lot better than people anticipate us to be,” Luu said.