Grayson Holtby holds ball

Dana Basketball Dribbles into Season

Boys

Following their strong performance in the preseason, the boys set high expectations for the regular season. With a starting-five consisting of all seniors, the team expected their experience to pay off against their league opponents. While hopes of a league title seem to be drifting way, the boys have started strong with a 2-2 record. 

Most recently, the boys traveled to San Clemente to face the Tritons in their annual rivalry match on Wednesday, Jan. 22. The non-league game featured a hostile environment as San Clemente filled their stands with students in their annual black-out game. In the back-and-forth game, Dana shot exceptionally well, hitting the majority of their shots. However, they struggled with rebounding as San Clemente outmatched Dana in size. Dana also failed to take advantage of San Clemente’s over-aggressive nature, shooting a low percentage at the free-throw line. Dana lost the close game 47-50.

Boys basketball
Senior Nate Martin holds the basketball over a Laguna Hills defender.

The boys traveled to El Toro to face the Chargers on Friday, Jan. 17. Going into the game, the boys set an aggressive game plan to primarily defend and target El Toro’s two best players. Dana’s defensive plan paid off, and Dana limited these two players to an extremely low field goal percentage. Seniors Miles Ettinger and Grayson Holtby led Dana’s offensive efforts, scoring 15 and 16 points, respectively. Dana won 46-41.

At home on Wednesday, Jan. 15, Dana hosted Laguna Hills. In the first quarter, Holtby hit a trio of three’s, giving Dana an early lead. Dana dominated at the rim, using their height advantage to post-up on offense. Going into the fourth, Dana led 54-27. Dana held their lead in the final stretch, winning the game 61-34.

Ettinger reflected on the game, “We played well as a team and had a lot of off-ball movement. My shot was working, and coming off the loss, I wanted to play more aggressively. We wanted to use this game as a spark to play better for the season.”

As a spectator, teacher Molly Coghill loved watching the game, adding, “It was awesome watching our basketball team out-hustle Laguna Hills!”

crowd during basketball game
Students erupt as the team scores its tenth point in the Silent Night game.

On Friday, Jan. 10, Dolphins hosted San Juan Hills. As the annual Silent Night game, Dana students packed the stands and stayed silent until the tenth point was scored. Despite the loud home crowd, Dana struggled early on with turnovers, leading to fast break points for the Stallions. Dana crept their way back over the course of the game, lowering the deficit gradually. Their efforts were not enough, however, and Dana lost 37-45.

In their first league game, Dana faced the Tesoro Titans. The boys started strong defensively, holding the Titans to under ten points in the first quarter. However, Dana struggled to have any offensive production and fell short 32-46.

Chris Na commented, “Our chances of winning league are slim, but once league is over, our end goal is to get into the playoffs. In the playoffs, anything can happen, and we just want to end on a good note.”

Girls

After struggling in the preseason, the girls basketball team entered the regular season with hopes of redemption. However, the team’s struggles from the preseason continued into league, and the girls are currently 0-5 in league. 

In their latest game, Dana hosted San Clemente at home on Thursday, Jan. 23. The Dolphins came into the game enthusiastically with hopes of beating their rivals. However, they were unable to meet their goal, as the rivalry match mirrored the results of their earlier matchup. The Dolphins lost 20-63.

Against Capistrano Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 21, the girls struggled to match the Cougar’s shooting efficiency. After a 35-point deficit at halftime, the Dolphins rallied for 14 points in the third quarter. Dana adjusted their defense, limiting Capistrano Valley to 11 total points in the second half. Their second-half efforts failed to compensate for their first-half struggles, however, and Dana lost 22-52.

basketball player
Junior Jacqueline Renaud dribbles the ball forward.

The previous week, the Dolphins hosted the Tesoro Titans at home on Thursday, Jan. 16. Tesoro started hot in the first quarter, scoring 23 points. The Titans continued their shooting streak throughout the game, scoring 64 total points. Dana lost to Tesoro 64-21.

Hosting Aliso Niguel on Saturday, Jan 11., Dana had hopes of breaking their losing streak. However, they struggled on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Aliso scored 29 points in the first and second quarter, putting Dana down 10-58 at the half. Dana’s struggles continued into the second half as Aliso scored 34 more points. Dana took home another loss 23-92.

In their second league match, the ladies faced the Trabuco Hills Mustangs. In the first half, Dana trailed Trabuco Hills 16-24. To start the second half, Trabuco Hills found their rhythm, handing the Dolphins another loss 29-46.

On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the girls traveled to San Clemente for their first rivalry meeting of the season. Dana continued with their offensive woes, shooting a low efficiency percentage from the field. Dana scored a total of 18 points over four quarters, resulting in a loss to the Tritons 18-66.

Despite the team’s struggles, the girls are optimistic and see this season as an opportunity to prepare for the future. 

Echoing these sentiments, senior Chase Colleen remarked, “We are definitely in transition at the moment and are looking to build a strong foundation for next year.”

Reflecting on the season as a whole, Junior Jacqueline Renaud commented, “Despite our unfortunate record, I’m very proud of my team for how we continue to improve each game. Compared to last year, we definitely focused more on winning, but this year, it’s less about winning (although we do want to win every game) and more about the little wins throughout the game. As season comes to an end, we’ll hold our heads high and be grateful for all the memories we’ve shared.”

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