De Anza pulls off big win against Cabrillo

Dons best the Seahawks on night of sophomores’ last home game


Krystal Alvarado

Sophomore wing Shaquille Gilbert shoots a 3-pointer over a Cabrillo defender. The Dons beat Cabrillo 79-60 on Wednesday Feb. 19.

Rajvir Kaur

The De Anza College men’s basketball team conquered the Cabrillo College Seahawks in the last home game of the season, defeating the visiting team 79-60 on Wednesday Feb. 19.

Head coach of the Dons Jason Damjanovic said practice the previous day seemed “to be the last place they (the players) wanted to be … and then this happens.”

Despite what Damjanovic called the “worst practice of the entire season” the Dons, now 7-4 in conference wins, came back stronger than ever to beat one of the best teams in the state.

When the Dons first played the Seahawks this season on Jan. 24, they lost 77-57. But this time around, the Dons managed to turn the tables.

Cabrillo is now 9-2 in conference, losing to only De Anza and San Jose City College. Pre-conference, the only other double-digit loss the Seahawks suffered this season was to the undefeated City College of San Francisco, when they lost to the Rams 78-55 before conference.

Before the start of the game, announcer John Cefalu introduced the sophomores of the 2013-14 season, Nick Ruotolo (guard), Shaquille Gilbert (wing), Alex Bull (wing/post), Keian Taylor (guard), Devontae Bryant (wing/post), and Jack Pasquini (wing), who would be playing their last home game of the regular season.

Tipping off the ball against Seahawks’ sophomore Jake Harrell, Gilbert gave the first possession to the Dons.
Starting the game for the Dons were sophomores Gilbert and Pasquini and freshmen Nate Viera (point guard), Kyle Connor (guard) and Dj Rodgriguez (guard).

The Dons were the first to put a score on the board, but the Seahawks quickly tied the score 4-4 a few minutes into the first half.

But the Dons never faltered. They slowly built their lead, stacking point after point. With 11 minutes remaining in the first half, the Dons had built a lead of 20-9.

The starting five put in bucket after bucket, with big 3-point shots coming from both Connor and Pasquini.

As the Seahawks tried to push back, the Dons pushed back just as hard. Going into halftime, De Anza led Cabrillo 40-23.

In the second half, the Dons continued to drive the ball to the basket while the Seahawks struggled to successfully make their shots.

The rhythm maintained by the Dons throughout the game kept the Seahawks at bay. The flow of the ball between the Dons’ teammates was so natural that it was hard to believe they had a bad practice the previous day.

Viera passed the ball to Connor, who jumped up as if to shoot but instead sent the ball right into Gilbert’s waiting hands. The trio, in a matter of seconds, executed their play and set the crowd roaring as they added two more points to their lead.

As the last minute wound down, the Dons had possession of the ball. Eyeing their victory, the home team slowed down it’s pace, not shooting the ball even as the shot clock went off.

The Dons ended the night with a 79-60 victory over the Seahawks.

Players and coaches shook hands as the buzzer went off and the Dons celebrated one of their biggest wins of the season.

“It was a great win,” Damjanovic said. “We dominated from the tip to the buzzer and never trailed in the game.”