LACES Untied

LACES Untied

LACES Untied

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May 28, 2024
Art by Lucas Lee.
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May 23, 2024
Just Ask Z
May 23, 2024

Gearing Up for Playoffs

Gearing+Up+for+Playoffs
Taizo Nakayama

With the end of the regular season, the winter sports teams at LACES are gearing up for the playoffs. While having roller coaster-like seasons, the boys and girls basketball teams, the boys and girls soccer teams and the girls water polo team are all looking to find success in the playoffs.

 

BOYS BASKETBALL

Taizo Nakayama

The boys basketball team has been impressive this season. Their first league game of the season ended with a major upset as the Unicorns defeated Fairfax High by a score of 45-38, followed by another victory against Fairfax with a score of 61-48 later on in the season. LACES boys basketball made history, beating Fairfax not only for the first time in the school’s history, but sweeping them in the season. In addition, they defeated Palisades 70-52 for the first time since 2006. The team finished 3rd in the Western League with a record of 17-10. In the Western League, the Unicorns have a 7-5 record, but the team was without star players Donovan Cornelius and Emmanuel Duru for two of the games. 

Head Coach David Trujenque, who has coached Cornelius for four years, says he is a talented player.

“Donovan has been with me since his freshman year,” said Trujeque. “It means a lot to me being able to coach him for four years on varsity, and make sure his legacy here is something that people can remember for a while or even for a very long time.”

In addition, the team has clear goals they have been working towards since the beginning of the season.  

“Since day one, our goals have never changed,” said Trujeque. “We wanted to win five league games because it has never been done at LACES in the Western League. We all have our eyes on the city title.”

After a win against Venice with a score of 61-51 in their last game before playoffs, LACES qualified for the Open Division as the No. 8 seed. Their next game will be at No. 1 seed Cleveland on February 9th at 7 pm. 

Boys Basketball Bracket: https://scorebooklive.com/california/basketball/brackets/5748

 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Taizo Nakayama

The girls basketball team has battled for a 10-14 record and is 4th in the Western League with a record of 5-7. The team has once again had a coaching change. Alex Wilson, the new head coach, has brought a fresh perspective and leadership to the team. At the forefront of the team is senior standout Katie Chiba, whose performance has been a driving force behind the team’s success. According to MaxPreps, she has been averaging 16.8 points per game across 16 matches. Wilson acknowledges Chiba’s impact on the team and the overall season.

“Katie has played a crucial role in our team’s success this season,” said Wilson. “Her dedication, skill, and leadership on the court have been instrumental in shaping our overall performance. We value her contributions and look forward to continued growth and success as we go into the remainder of the season.” 

Another starter on the team, freshman Mila Sano, had some positive things to say about Chiba. 

“When Katie has the ball, I feel a sense of confidence that something good will happen,” said Sano. “She is also a really good leader and has helped me become a better player.”

LACES is the No. 4 seed in the DI Playoffs and has a first round bye. Their first playoff game will be at Venice on February 10th at 7 pm.  

Girls Basketball Bracket: https://scorebooklive.com/california/girls-basketball/brackets/5755

 

BOYS SOCCER

Taizo Nakayama

The boys soccer team currently has a record of 6-8-2 and aims to improve their record. They currently sit in 5th in the Western League with a record of 4-6-2. As the leading scorer with 16 goals, Junior Macsen Hayden has helped the team greatly. Hayden’s teammates recognize how important he has been in the team’s success in terms of dedication and leadership. Despite Hayden’s noticeable impact, his other teammates have also been instrumental to the team including junior Oliver Cunningham, who leads the team in assists with 8 assists.

“Macsen’s skill on the field has elevated our standard of play,” said Cunningham. “His dedication is very noticeable and we wouldn’t be where we are without him.”

LACES is No. 10 seed in the Division III playoffs and will play at No. 7 seed Manual Arts on February 14th at 3 pm. 

Boys Soccer Bracket: 223740-04a7a255-7382-44af-907c-d3e14b673fae.pdf (edl.io)

 

GIRLS SOCCER

Taizo Nakayama

The girls soccer team’s season has been remarkable, battling their way to a 8-6-1 record overall and is 3rd in the Western League with a 7-4-1 record. The team is making a playoff push as they look to go on a deep run this season. Former assistant coach, 1st year head coach and history teacher, Ms. Cecilia Portillo expresses her excitement for the team this year.

“I’m very excited about my team this season,” said Portillo. “I believe we are one of the strongest squads I’ve seen since I’ve been here. I have several players that are phenomenal, but two of the standout players this year are Avike Varadi and Abigail Urizar. They both really stepped up as younger players. I’m really excited about the upperclassmen this year.”

Portillo also talked about what the team needs to work on to succeed in the playoffs.

“It’s really about our mentality right now,” said Portillo. “I really want to tell our girls that we are definitely good enough to compete and good enough to win the division if we put our minds to it. We have the skills.”

LACES is the No. 14 seed in the Division 1 playoffs and will face No. 19 seed Sherman Oaks CES at home on February 8th at 3 pm.  

Girls Soccer Bracket: 223759-c7ae7386-eb87-40a6-a5d1-6704173ec8ae.pdf (edl.io)

 

GIRLS WATER POLO

Lucas Lee

After a rough 2022-2023 season where they went 1-5, the team has a 3-4 record. The team is currently 4th in the Western/Marine League. Unfortunately, issues with the LACES pool added a hurdle to their journey as their game against Pali at home was canceled. 

The team has witnessed significant moments, notably during their game against Venice on January 19th. Despite a 13-7 loss, the match showcased standout performances, including goalie Mick Everist’s 20 crucial saves and Dhalia Rocha’s impressive long-distance goal.

“I was behind the six-meter line. I tried to focus on keeping the ball in the top corner of the net and propelling myself out of the water so I can have a better shot,” said Rocha. “I’ve been playing softball since I was nine and pitch, so I have a strong arm already and that helped a lot.”

In a hard-fought game that remained close throughout its duration, LACES was able to outscore University High 11-7 on senior night on January 25th. While senior captains Sophie Gopen and Clara Hazlitt scored key goals, underclassmen made their presence known also.

“Considering that we have, I would say a lot of players that are seniors and experienced, but also a mix of players that are still learning, [the senior night game] was a great effort,” said Athletic Director Mr. Marlon Shows. “We saw great leadership by the seniors and some players that normally don’t have a chance to shine like they did today.” 

LACES is the 6th seed in the DI playoffs and was originally going to face No. 11 seed Roosevelt. However, due to forfeit, LACES will move on to the Quarterfinals and play at No. 3 seed Venice on February 8th at 3 pm. 

Girls Water Polo Bracket: https://4.files.edl.io/8df9/02/01/24/192500-dacec6f1-5a2a-4d11-bffa-cdfdcd7d5ece.pdf

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About the Contributors
Henry Stein
Henry Stein, Staff Writer
My name is Henry Stein and I'm a sophomore at LACES. I quite enjoy watching sports, hockey is my favorite in particular. I also like playing basketball for LACES and the most popular sport at school, table tennis.
Taizo Nakayama
Taizo Nakayama, Deputy Online Manager | Entertainment Editor
Taizo Nakayama is a senior with a passion for astrobiology, a field where people look for little green people in space. He enjoys critiquing sci-fi films in lengthy blog posts and writing flash fiction; the lack of required commitment to worldbuilding appeals to him.  
Lucas Lee
Lucas Lee, Art Director
Hi, I'm Lucas Lee and I’m a senior here at LACES. I'm currently working on my art portfolio so I can pursue a career in the arts.
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