The King/Drew boys basketball team (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The efforts of the King/Drew boys’ basketball team would get them Coliseum League and City Section honors. The Golden Eagles had a 16-17 overall record and became Coliseum League champions with their 9-1 League record.

“We had to realize we had to come as a team and not let each other down and not pout and not cry,” said freshman Josahn Webster who earned All-City honors for his efforts. “And just really stick to each other.”

The Golden Eagles reach the second round of the CIF Division II State playoffs. King/Drew knocked off the top-seeded Canyon 73-69 in the first round.

“It was pretty fun,” said senior Jacob LaCount. “We got to experience another successful, winning season.”

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Success did not come easy as King/Drew endured losses by Sierra Canyon, Damien, and Village Christian. Playing in tournaments helped them learn their plays and fix mistakes.

“It’s always a fun experience with a new group of guys,” said sophomore Donald Thompson. “It makes it more challenging to try to get the chemistry with everybody.”

The offensive play of the guards was an asset, but the Golden Eagles struggled on defense with their frontcourt players. As the season continued, their frontcourt players found ways to undermine opponents.

“We started focusing on defense and then our defense just started connecting,” said senior Joshua Rivas. “And then our offense, we started going on a roll, everybody was hitting their shots.”

Last season, King/Drew qualified for the City Section Open Division playoffs and lost to Fairfax 64-76 during the championship game. Players like senior Danny Price were elated to continue the winning momentum throughout this past season.

“I got to enjoy it with people I love,” Price said. “And then express my feelings with them through basketball.”

Many of the players relished in their final in-season game where they defeated Crenshaw 53-50 in an away game.

“The most favorite feeling for me was when we beat Washington and Crenshaw at their home when we won League Champions,” said senior Dume Akametu. “That was probably the most memorable moment for me.”

Junior Kameron Gates has been playing for the Golden Eagles Boys basketball team since he was a freshman; he also plays for the football team. He noticed how defense changed throughout the seasons.

“Every year, we’ve always hung our hats on defense,” Gates said. “As we migrated to having smaller bigs, we migrated into perimeter defense, and pressing and quickness is our advantage.”

Although he was initially nervous about playing varsity ball, freshman Jayshawn Kibble was able to readjust his game and became comfortable with the team.

“My mid-range game and my defense, they got better over the season,” Kibble said.

Chemistry was a key quality of the Golden Eagles squad this season. The players would hang out with one another during the time they were off-court. Being around the seniors taught sophomore Harper Whitman the importance of being poised.

“Sometimes I would do things either too fast or too slow,” Whitman said. “Learning a lot from the seniors has helped me and it’s gonna help me when I become a senior.”