May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

University beats Woodbridge 63-53 in PCL finale, but misses out on CIF playoff berth

University’s standout players on Thursday Arjun Gill (left) and Kody Uyesugi with Coach Beau Budde. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

University High’s boys basketball team looked like a squad deserving of a CIF playoff berth.

The Trojans defeated Woodbridge 63-53 at Woodbridge Thursday night to even their Pacific Coast League mark at 5-5. But shortly after the game, the Trojans found out they were not advancing to the playoffs because Northwood locked up third place with a 71-69 victory over Beckman in overtime.

University (10-15 overall) needed Beckman to win to force a playoff game for third place Friday. A team needs to have at least a .500 record to be considered for an at-large berth in the playoffs.

“We needed Northwood to lose and I just heard from our AD that they won, so that’s it,” said first year University Coach Beau Budde. “This is the first time in nine years that we’ve gone over four wins (in league) so there are some things that the kids should be proud of.

“We’re really trying to change the culture in the program and I think the kids have really done a good job of doing that. We have a lot of young kids on our this team so I’m excited for that to have this experience and then get to see them put in the work and hopefully we will be better next year.”

University (10-15 overall) was led by Arjun Gill, who had 23 points and Kody Uyesugi, who had 19 points. Uysesugi had to sit out most of the fourth quarter after suffering a cramp in his calf, but he was solid through three quarters. He returned for the final couple minutes.

“He’s always unbelievable, it’s nice to always be able to rely on somebody like that,” Budde said of Uyesugi.

Gill made four 3-pointers and was solid at both ends of the floor.

“He’s been awesome as well,” Budde said. “Him and Kody have been the two guys we’ve been able to rely on them the most. I’ve been blessed to have them on the team.”

Woodbridge, trying to win for its outgoing head coach John Halagan, jumped out to a 15-12 lead after one quarter. But University outscored Woodbridge 27-14 to move ahead 39-29 at halftime.

The Trojans led 50-39 after three quarters then extended the lead to 55-42 on a 3-pointer by Gill with 5:56 left.

Woodbridge (5-21, 3-7) battled from the start and got solid efforts from Tyrell Flojo (13 points), Steven Mimpiya (12 points) and Nygle Williams (11 points).

“That game was kind of a microcosm of our season,” said Halagan. “We missed some shots around the rim and in a game like this, you got to convert those because Uni is pretty lethal from beyond the arc. They got multiple guys who can make shots and we lose track of them for 30 seconds and they put a 6-0 and 9-2 run.

“After that, we were just trading baskets. I think we got it down to six. But they played well. Gill and Uyesugi played well and I thought their role players stepped up and made big plays.

“This group has been such a pleasure to coach. We lost more than our share of games. We’re not accustomed to losing like that, but this group, their work ethic never wavered. They came in and they were always about each other, having each other’s back and they were so coachable. They all bought into the concept of team and they were all pulling for each other.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com