The View Park Boys’ basketball team created a new chapter in the school’s gilded athletic history. The Varsity team won the CIF State Division IV championship and the Junior Varsity squad created a strong resume of wins.
“The whole school had our back,” said sophomore guard D’Anthony Ward of the J.V. team. “We believed in each other and supported each other.”
View Park is now ranked 63 in the State, with University and Narbonne following respectively.
Winning a championship began with having a defensive mindset for the Knights. The focus on having strong defense began the summer before the 2017-18 season. Knights varsity boys’ basketball head coach Jason Porter decided to take players out of the game for non-hustle plays and if they made defensive mistakes.
“It was a situation where for every little mistake, we’ll take them out,” Porter said. “You’re gonna go back in because somebody else is gonna make that same mistake.”
Holding the squad accountable on the defensive end was a major turning point, allowing them to polish their defense during summer and fall league games.
“We played more as a team this year on the defensive end, we always helped each other,” said sophomore center De’Shawn Johnson. “We started communicating more also.”
In December and January, View Park participated in several tournaments, including the Dwan Hurt Holiday Classic, the Rancho Mirage Invitational, and the Spud Mckinzey Inner-City Challenge.
Competing in tournaments gave the Knights a chance to battle diverse programs, like Lake Washington of Kirkland, WA and Vancouver’s St. Georges.
“We didn’t win any tournaments but we always prove that we were one of the best teams in all of the tournaments,” said senior forward Kameron Storrs. “We always played a tougher team and that helped a lot.”
The Coliseum League teams were also a challenge, Crenshaw and Fremont were the only two teams that defeated View Park.
View Park was the #1 seed in the division I playoffs but was upset by University 62-67 in the semifinals. Soon after their loss, the team was invited to compete for the state crown. The team was eager to not squander a second opportunity to compete in the playoffs.
“I think after that game, when they told us we have another chance to win state, we were mentally prepared,” said freshman guard Christian Johnson.
Competing for state, View Park had to battle Lompoc, Bakersfield and King/Drew. They had to get through Stuart Hall of San Francisco to get the title.
“It seemed like the longest game of the season and it just felt like the best game of the season,” said senior guard Shamar Lair.
Defense gave View Park a strong start, they held Stuart Hall to 24 points in the first half. As the varsity team competed well, the J.V. team was also a strong force in the Coliseum League.
“They all wanted to win, so they all wanted to buy all in to how to win,” J.V. head coach Donte Bowie said. “Once they figured out how to win, it pretty much just took off from there.”
Sophomore Rodney Bradley was one of three players to practice with the varsity squad during the playoffs.
“I feel like it’s improved my skills,” Bradley said. “I have more confidence in my game.”
Sophomore guard Marcus Dewberry mentioned how both J.V. and varsity had strong support for one another.
“We still communicated with them and asked them questions, they asked us questions,” Dewberry said.
“We held each other as a family.”