Captains Defeat Phoenix in Last Home Double-Header

On Feb. 6, both Phoenix varsity basketball teams took on the Loudoun County Captains in two of their last games before playoffs. Despite solid efforts from the Phoenix, the girls lost 40-34 and the boys lost 66-47.


Bhargav Kuniki

Senior Deric Gomodo goes up to take a jump shot as a Captain attempts to block him.

Before heading off the playoffs, the Phoenix returned to their home court for one more game. On Monday, Feb. 6, the Phoenix boys and girls varsity basketball teams took on the Loudoun County Captains. Both Phoenix teams started off strong, maintaining energy and communicating well as a team. However, the night had two similar endings, with the Captain girls winning 40-34 and the Captain boys winning 66-47.

The Phoenix girls varsity basketball team wasted no time getting into a head-to-head scoring match. They held their own, remaining only a few points behind the Captains in the first three quarters, ending the third quarter 24-21. Throughout these periods, there were some points where the Phoenix nearly lost their close following, but were saved with three-pointers or strong drives from senior Sruthi Dacherla and junior Cora Bowen. In the end, despite the scores being so close, the Phoenix fell behind in the fourth quarter, and the game resulted in a 40-34 win for the Captains.

The girls varsity team jumped straight into the game, scoring at almost a one-to-one pace with the Captains. This pace was kept up throughout the first three quarters of the game and many team members were satisfied with this strong start. “I think we started off really well…our momentum [went] down and up from the game,” senior Nadia Shanneb said. “I think [we could’ve kept] our momentum high.” The team had more issues in the fourth quarter, with a growing score gap and energy running low, they, unfortunately, finished the game with a loss. 

Looking back at the girls team’s season, players find that it’s clear how much they’ve improved and how far they’ve come. “It’s been great to see how much we have improved as a team and how much I’ve improved as a player,” senior Mehma Kathuria said.

After a short break, the Phoenix boys varsity basketball team took the court to warm up and start their game. Although the game began with a fast pace and the scores were close in the first quarter with the Captains leading 10-6, the gap grew as the game continued. At halftime, the Captains led 31-17, when both teams got a short break as the Phoenix cheer team performed and hyped up the crowd. Everyone immediately jumped back into action after the performance, with the Captains leading 50-28 in the third quarter and ultimately winning the game 66-47.

This game, however, was different than most for the boys varsity team. Their starting lineup had a significant change: with co-captain senior Basit Qadri and sophomore Mekhi Motilewa out, they had to improvise. “We had to do a lot of stuff differently because those are two of the main ball handlers,” senior Deric Gomado said. “We don’t have that many ball handlers on our team, so we had to pass the ball a lot more and work around [that] to get a better shot.” 

Despite this, the team managed to communicate and score a good number of times throughout the game. However, the team did see room to improve. “We came out pretty bad, we turned over the ball a lot, especially in the third quarter,” Gomado said. “That’s the main problem: we play good defense but we just turn over the ball a lot on offense. We need to fix that.” The team still has high energy as they move towards bigger and more exciting games: the playoffs.