“We had a rough regular season, but it was nice to bring it all together in the end and make a run for the championship. I never thought with this team we would be able to achieve,” said senior Blake Thorpe.
The Las Lomas Men’s Varsity Basketball team (13-7, 3-9) had an unexpected playoff run at the end of the season. “You can’t take games for granted because whether you are the high seed or the low seed it is a 50/50 chance to win. If you don’t go in completely focused ready to play you’ll lose the game,” said senior JT Estes. Placed as the 14th seed in the North Coast Section bracket the Knights had to play the three seed Cardinal Newman (22-6, 10-0) in the first round. “We knew going in we had to play our best game. It’s win or go home in these first two rounds of NCS,” said Estes. Las Lomas upset them 64-57 and then moved onto play 11 seed Tamalpais (15-13, 8-8). “After we won it felt like we finally clicked and became a whole new team,” said Estes. Tamalpais was coming off an upset against 6 seed Montgomery (18-11, 7-3). If the Knights win this game they will qualify for the CIF State tournament which they were in last season, making it all the way to the finals against Chino Hills. Las Lomas beat Tamalpais with a final score of 49-45, and would move onto the semifinals facing the 2 seed Moreau Catholic (26-8, 12-2). “I think we realized if we lose our season would be over and we wanted to leave it all out there,” said Estes. Las Lomas would end up losing 55-46 after having a 25-14 lead at halftime. This would mark the end of the NCS playoff run for Las Lomas, but since they beat Tamalpais they now qualified for the CIF State tournament.
Las Lomas was moved down to Division 3 for the CIF State tournament as the 2 seed and would face 15 seed Foothill (25-9, 8-2) in the first round. Foothill gave Las Lomas a tough game and they ended up beating the Knights 62-57 to end Las Lomas’ season. “I really value every game, every practice. It all meant a lot to me and I am sad that it is over,” said Estes.
One of the highlights of the season was when Las Lomas played Northgate (16-11, 4-8) at home this season in an overtime thriller, winning 64-61. Estes hit the clutch game-tying shot with two seconds left in the fourth quarter, leading the Knights to the victory. “Playing Northgate was an intense game, big rivalry games like that you live for,” said Estes. Las Lomas would end up beating Northgate as well at their place 59-46.
Last seasons head coach, Brian Dietschy did not return this season because of family reasons. Instead, Las Lomas hired coach Jason Rockwell. Rockwell attended St. Joseph Notre Dame High School and was the point guard on their 2003-04 state championship team. As a senior, he was named first team All-Bay Shore Athletic League. Rockwell has previous coaching experience at Chabot Junior College, De La Salle, St. Joseph Notre Dame, Justin-Siena, and Alameda High School. “He’s brought a different philosophy, but I think it was much needed. He brings a seriousness and a work ethic that a lot of us have come onto. He has taught us how to work harder and overall be smart players,” said Thorpe.
After this season the Knights will lose seniors Estes, Thorpe, Dylan Graham, Issah Henderson, and Adi George. “The message I would give to next year’s team is work extremely hard in the offseason, and know that you guys are good players,” said Thorpe. Las Lomas will have nine returning players from this years roster. “Some of the guys think they aren’t as talented as they are. I would like to see them have more confidence and dominate next year,” Thorpe added.