The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

Win, lose or draw (actually all three)

In one week, Mac battled LASA in boys basketball, girls basketball, soccer and swimming; mixed results suggest Raptors have emerged as Knights’ next big district rival
AN EVEN MATCH: Senior Caroline passes the ball down the field during the game against LASA last Wednesday. Earlier in the game, Owen scored McCallum’s sole goal by heading in a corner kick taken by senior Kat Klein. The game concluded with a 1-1 tie. Owen knew that her competition would be fierce before the game even started. “LASA is at a higher level than most of the teams we play,” Owen said. “This game was harder mentally because we’re not used to playing such close games.” Even though her team didn’t necessarily win, Owen is glad to not have had to walk home with a loss.  “I’m glad we got the first round against them out of the way without a loss because next time we’ll know what to expect,” she said.  Caption by JoJo Barnard.

UIL realignment is coming on Thursday. While it’s likely that McCallum will lose generations-long district rivalries with Travis, LBJ and Northeast (formerly Reagan), the new kids on the district block—the recently independent LASA Raptors—will likely remain a district foe.

Given the last week of competition between the two schools, that’s a good thing. On Tuesday, the basketball programs battled in an epic home-and-home where two very close varsity games both went to the home teams. On Wednesday, the girls soccer teams battled to a draw at House Park, and over the weekend, the two schools were at it in the pool. The LASA teams won, but McCallum swimmers held their own in many individual and relay events.

LASA has become if not an athletic powerhouse a very tough out in most of the sports the school plays. We explore the new Raptors rivalry in this week’s Tuesday Top 10.

RAPTORS 40, KNIGHTS 37: Junior point guard Emy Chen eludes three Raptor defenders for a left-handed layup during the Knights’ loss at LASA on Tuesday. Despite Chen’s team-leading 19 points, the girls basketball team suffered its first district loss in two years. Because the Raptors entered the game with two district losses and because the Knights handed Navarro its second district loss the Friday night before Tuesday’s game, the Knights remain in sole possession of first place, a full game ahead of both the Raptors and Knights in the district standings.

With several players out sick and anticipating a rowdy crowd supporting the home team, Coach Carly Kehn knew it was going to be a tough game on Tuesday, but she did not expect what transpired in the early moments of the first quarter. A foul was called against the Knights in the first eight seconds or so of play, but as the Raptors prepared for their free-throw, Kehn noticed the clock had not begun ticking. Kehn said students were managing the clock instead of an adult. 

“At that point I just looked over to my assistant coaches and was like, ‘This is gonna be a longer game if that’s how the game is gonna be called,’” Kehn said. “I preach to my kids that we have to adjust to how the game is called no matter what. It’s our job to adjust; they are not going to adjust the game for us. We didn’t do a very good job of that, but I looked up at the clock, and it’s not run off at all. So that was something that I should’ve been more aware of and should’ve spoken up more about.” 

Kehn alerted the referee and the clock ran for 10 seconds before the Raptors shot their first free throw.

The Knights were down by 10 after one quarter at 18-8.

“We were just talking about how we needed to chip away little by little,” Kehn said. “You need to double what they give.”

And chip away they did. By the second quarter they were down seven at 24-17.

“It was kind of an uphill battle from there,” Kehn said. “I think the other part that in hindsight I look at is that you’re not used to having to play with a target on your back. We definitely had a target on our backs this game, but the last few games have been pretty intense with all of the adversity we were facing, and so sometimes you play not to lose instead of playing to win, and I felt like we did that a little bit.”

As the second half approached, things became tense in the stands. Raptor and Knight parents alike were calling out referees for being biased in favor of the Raptors in regards to fouls, despite an equal amount of fouls being called on each team. By halftime, both teams had been called for six fouls. 

“I just didn’t feel like it was equal,” senior forward Sam Cowles said. “Technically because I’m not the captain I am not allowed to speak to the refs, but they weren’t calling [fouls] earlier so even if I did say something they could’ve given me a technical or gotten mad and not done anything. That was just the way they were calling the game so I just dealt with it.”

Kehn stressed that she and her players need to stay composed in difficult situations like the ones they confronted on Tuesday night.

“I was not as composed as I needed to be, for sure,” Kehn said. “We only chipped away one point in the third quarter, but at that point it was hard not to be frustrated with how we started the game, but it’s also like we have to look forward to what we need to do.”

At the third quarter the Knights were still down by six at 34-28. They managed to catch up to cut the lead in half by game’s end, but it wasn’t enough.

This loss comes swiftly after a notable home win over Navarro last Friday when four JV members subbed for sick varsity students. While the team faced considerable external challenges in both games against top opponents, Kehn said the team needs to take accountability for the loss. 

“It has been weird for us as a team since last Thursday,” Kehn said. “We have had so many kids out. We were already—I wouldn’t say scrambling, I felt like we were prepared—but we were already thrown off our game. I have talked to multiple people about it; at the end of the day, we did not play to win. We just did not play our best game and LASA just played better than us. Regardless of all of the other things that went on, I think that they deserved to win based on the way they played and our performance.”

With all they endured, Kehn took a moment to acknowledge members of her team for their excellent play. She praised Chen who “has always taken it upon herself to try to score,” senior shooting guard Lily Hobbs who “made some big shots for us down the stretch” and junior small forward Esme Barraz who Kehn called their “defense specialist.” Despite being “very very sick,” Barraz soldiered through the entire game and held one of LASA’s “top scorers” to six points. 

Photo and caption by Morgan Eye.

BY GEORGE: Junior guard George McCoy streaks past the LASA defense to lay in two of his game high 19 points as the Knights defeated LASA 56-51 to sweep the season series with the Raptors and remain undefeated in District 24-5A. The Raptors had reeled off eight wins in a row after losing to the Knights the first time, 61-38 on Dec. 12. McCoy did most of his offensive damage in the second quarter when he scored 10 points. Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Eliza Jensen.

A SLIPPERY GAME: For junior Isaura Lopez, playing at House Park means an atmosphere of both excitement and nerves. For their first time playing there this season, the girls varsity soccer team met up with rivals LASA last Wednesday in the pouring rain. With full stands despite the downpours, the game had high stakes from the very beginning, which only fueled Lopez.

“I felt good going into the game,” she said. “I was nervous but I felt like I was prepared and ready to go.”

Though her confidence never faltered, the introduction of a new player to LASA’s squad caught Lopez off guard. With teammates telling her to watch out from the sides and the crowds jeering from above, she realized the competition was going to be harder than she anticipated.

“There was a fast player coming in on the field, and I was told to be ready,” Lopez said. “I got a bit more nervous because I thought I wouldn’t be able to beat her, but I managed to.”

The rain didn’t help either, causing people to slip and the ball to change direction on a dime. The inclement weather added level of difficulty that made McCallum’s need to communicate greater, something Lopez says the whole team could use some help with.

“We need to work on communication,” she said. “Being able to talk when we want the ball and control it more.”

Though the first match-up ended in a 1-1 tie, Lopez is confident in the team’s ability going into its next meeting.

“Our team played pretty well considering it was pouring rain,” she said, “We were playing a good team, and we still managed to play better [than them]. I know next time we will beat them.” 

Caption by Helen Martin. Photo by Francie Wilhelm.

RAPTORS 34, JV KNIGHTS 28: The JV boys basketball team lost a close game to the LASA Raptors on Tuesday night at DCG.

Sophomore Coda Becker says the team wasn’t in the right headspace and underestimated their opponents

“I feel like we were not as focused as we needed to be before the game started,” Becker said. “We were just too overconfident.”

He added that the team knows what it needs to change in order to enjoy better results.

“We really need to be more serious about the game, especially during warmups, when it really counts.”

The JV Knights will strive to maintain focus throughout the game when they travel to Eastside Friday night. Opening tip is at 6:30 p.m.

Caption and photo by Sofia Saucedo.

SWIFT IN SWIMMING: The swim team competed at the district wide meet at Cedar Ridge High on Saturday, in which junior Liliana Hollinger (in the light green bathing suit in the middle lane) placed in several of her events, including first in the 100 freestyle race and second in the 50 free. Although the LASA team ultimately won the meet, Mac athletes like Hollinger were able to dominate in their individual events. Hollinger and others will be moving onto the regional meet that will take place on Feb. 9 and 10, and top swimmers at that competition will continue to the state race.

Hollinger said this meet was definitely her best of the season.

“I did really feel like I did my best; I got my best times,” she said. “The team spirit was really good, and I was very confident, and you know, just very happy the whole time.”

Hollinger said she has been trying to make state since her freshman year, and this is the year she hopes it will finally happen.

Caption by Camilla Vandegrift. Photo by Riley Pita.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: In a heated back-and-forth game, the McCallum Knights beat the Lasa Raptors 56-51. The game ended with only a 5-point difference between the two teams, however enough to secure the Knights a win.

The game provided the Knights a sense of confidence as the season progressed according to junior George Brode. 

“The whole game was pretty intense and back and forth,” Brode said. “I think the biggest parts were towards the end where we began to pull away with a few minutes left in the game, however, we made clutch free throws by Ethan Plummer which was a highlight.”

After the win, the Knights were able to connect with the crowd, take in the victory, and experience celebration with the win in their pockets. 

“We were pretty ecstatic after the game,” Brode said. “We learned how to stay focused throughout the game and with everybody going 100% we can get the job done against good teams.”

Caption by Chloe Lewcock. Photo by Julia Copas. 

AN EVEN MATCH: Senior Caroline Owen (No. 18) chest bumps teammate Kat Klein after the duo teamed up to tie the score of Wednesday’s district showdown between the Knights and Raptors at House Park.  Twenty minutes into the second half, Owen scored McCallum’s sole goal by heading off a corner kick taken by Klein. The game concluded with a 1-1 tie.

Owen knew that her competition would be fierce before the game even started.

“LASA is at a higher level than most of the teams we play,” Owen said. “This game was harder mentally because we’re not used to playing such close games.”

Even though her team didn’t necessarily win, Owen is glad to not have had to walk home with a loss. 

“I’m glad we got the first round against them out of the way without a loss because next time we’ll know what to expect,” she said. 

Caption by JoJo Barnard. Photo by Julia Copas.

BEAT TO THE BASKET: Junior Tyler Stockton contests a Lasa shot during the JV Knights 34-28 home loss to the Raptors on Tuesday. Stockton said that going into the game they were overconfident, which he claims cost them the game in the end. For Stockton, this loss came with a lesson.

“Never underestimate your opponent,” he said. “Having the right mindset is so important when coming into a game like this. Don’t come into the game cocky and arrogant.”

Caption by August Gleason. Photo by Sofia Saucedo. 

LIGHTNING STEALS THEIR THUNDER: The junior varsity girls soccer team’s game ended in a 2-1 defeat against the LASA Raptors because of lightning. With 50 seconds left in the first half, the ref blew the whistle, calling the game. From then, both teams went into their locker rooms and waited 15 minutes before the refs made the decision to end the game so the varsity teams could start on time. While the game may have ended as a LASA win, McCallum had many shots on goal, and had weather circumstances been different, they may have been able to finish with more than their singular goal, scored by freshman Athena Whintle.

Many players, like freshman Lucia McNamara, had friends on the LASA team, which only increased the rivalry between the teams.

“Going up against my friends made me want to win even more,” McNamara said. “I love all of those girls off the field, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to beat them.”

When the news broke out that the game would end, many players were angry and disappointed.

“The whole team felt disappointed because that was a big game for us, and we wanted to win more than we have any other game this season,” McNamara said. “It’s hard to leave a game knowing you didn’t get to perform to your fullest potential as a team. 

Both the JV and the varsity will take on the Raptors again on Friday, Feb 23. Going into the game, McNamara knows that the Knights will put in their all. 

“We’re going to enter the game feeling less comfortable than we did this time, but we’re also going to want to win even moreso,” McNamara said. “The team is fired up and ready to win this game.”

Caption by Maya Tackett. File photo by Julia Copas.

FRESHMAN KNIGHTS 56, RAPTORS 22: The freshman boys basketball team defended their home court emphatically on Tuesday night, decisively beating the LASA Raptors to extend their district win streak to nine games.

Ben Cook led the way with 12 points; Nels Pruner and Amdsen Withers scored eight and seven points respectively.

Pruner said after the game that he believed the Knights would prevail.

“I was feeling confident that we were going to come out with a win,” Pruner said. “Even though the score was close the first time we played LASA.”

During the game, Pruner’s confidence crew as the team built a lead and kept adding to it.

“During the game I felt really good,” Pruner said. “We were making few mistakes and playing really solid as a team.”

Pruner said was especially pleased to return to his team after being sick.

“The highlight of the game was that everyone got minutes and were able to play well,” he said.

Pruner said he was encouraged by the team’s improvement since the first LASA game on Dec. 12.

“The biggest takeaway was that our team has the capability to perform at a high level and keep improving,” Pruner said.

To Pruner the final margin of victory showed that the team has really come together in their first year at McCallum.

“Although there are still things that we can always improve on, I think the final score shows how hard we have worked this season,” Pruner said.

He added that the team is excited to finish the season strong.

“I feel very confident that we will be able to stay undefeated,” Pruner said.

For Pruner this season has been all about finding his footing at McCallum and getting used to this more intense atmosphere.

“This year has been super fun,” Pruner siad. “The coaches and teammates are awesome and it’s just been a great experience.”

Reporting by Chloe Seckar-Martinez. Photo by Julia Copas.

AN EASY WIN: The girls JV basketball team played the LASA raptors for the second time, beating the team 63-17. The game was quickly off to an advantage, as the Knights quickly leveraged the raptors. Junior Ella Burns felt that the game was off to a good start, but compared to other teams in the district, LASA did not provide much competition.

“The competition was worse than in the past,” Burns said. “But we felt really good, and we were playing really well together.” 

Playing a team who doesn’t provide as much competition means the girls like to work on specified things during the game. Burns said that playing against the Raptors gave the team a chance to run different plays and get a lot of practice in. 

“We tried to run the plays right and try different variations,” she said. “It helps us in the long run.” 

According to Burns, the biggest takeaway from the game was correctly running a difficult play. 

“The things that helped us the most was learning how to run a 131 press, and running the offenses properly.” 

Caption by Priya Thoppil. Photo by Morgan Eye.

CAPTAIN CLASH: Senior captain Sarah Hauck pulls the ball back in order to make a move around the LASA captain. On Wednesday, Jan. 24 the girls varsity soccer team faced off against the LASA Raptors and ended with a final score of 1-1.

At the end of the first half the Knights were down 1-0, but they picked it up in the second half and scored, resulting in a final score of 1-1. Going into the game Hauck knew LASA would put up a good fight. She knew that the team had to rely on their teamwork and competitiveness. 

“I felt confident that we had a good chance to win,” Hauck said. “But I knew we had to focus on possession of the ball and trying to gain early momentum.”

Hauck is looking forward to progressing as a team throughout the rest of the season and into playoffs. 

“I’m looking forward to creating stronger bonds with my teammates,” she said. “I think we are a strong team this year so I’m looking forward to playoffs.”

Caption by Evelyn Jenkins. Photo by Julia Copas.

ALL GOOD IN THE HOOD: The freshman team bench erupts in celebration after Henry Hood sank a contested layup during the fourth quarter of the freshman Knights’ 56-22 blowout win over the Raptors on Tuesday at DCG.  The Knights had put the game away long before this basket, so you might be wondering why the celebration? Injured guard Cole Truong told the Shield that Hood’s basket meant that every member of the team had scored at some point during the season. How did Hood react to his teammates’ bench bedlam.

“He didn’t really react that much,” Truong said, “because he had to get back on defense.”

Hood wasn’t done either. To prove the first basket was no fluke, he scored again later in the fourth quarter from pretty much the same spot on the floor he scored the first time.

Caption by Dave Winter. Photo by Julia Copas.

THE BRODE TO VICTORY: After scoring 30 points in a road win at Navarro the Friday before, junior guard George Brode scored 10 points against LASA, one of three Knights to score in double digits in the game.

According to Brode, the Raptors are one of the Knights’ fiercest opponents in their district season, and the win wasn’t guaranteed going into the game.  

“I think all of us gave a big sigh of relief after that win because Lasa was a challenging opponent,” Brode said. “It was good to beat them knowing we now probably had the district championship locked up.” 

Caption by Chloe Lewcock. Photo by Eliza Jensen.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Shield Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *