The following was written by Charlie Foy, special to the Outlook.
St. Francis is a small school compared to most, and in basketball, the Golden Knights are typically underdogs against big schools; however, that didn’t stop them from an impressive showing at Maranatha High’s Summer Block Party.
Corona Centennial has more than 3,000 students, making the St. Francis student body seem like pebbles in a rock pile. Recently, the teams went head to head, and the Golden Knights pulled away with a 62-53 victory.
Head coach Todd Wolfson reflected on the win: “We had four or five guys step up. We played team basketball. They represented the school and did some good things in all facets of the game. It was a great team victory.”
This year, St. Francis loses star guard Joey Walsh, but that didn’t stop the Golden Knights from beating the Huskies. In the game, rising sophomore Andre Henry scored 29, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out six assists.
“When I was there, I did as much as could to take him under my wing and teach and show him how to lead a team, and he fits the bill,” Walsh said of his former teammate. “He’s a great player with a great attitude.”
Aside from Henry, the Golden Knights will look to rising junior Javon Jones as well as rising senior Lucas Shin to lead the team. Jones scored 20 points and collected 10 boards. Meanwhile, Lucas Shin brings needed experience to a young team.
“Lucas knows what to expect and what is necessary,” stated Wolfson, “and we hope he can get us where we need to go.”
For the Knights, they have the Mission League and CIF in mind heading into the season. Rising junior Kevin House stated, “I think our goal should be to win CIF and eight games in league.” However both goals will be difficult to accomplish as the Golden Knights play in arguably the most difficult league in Southern California.
The Golden Knights will need to improve in the post in order to achieve their goals. Specifically, the team will need to improve rebounding.
“They are a little undersized,” Walsh said of his former squad, “but if they can find a way to rebound the ball and not give up easily on second chance points, they are going to be tough to beat.”
Despite their lack of size, the team still puts up a fight against bigger teams by taking high-percentage shots. Specifically, the team shoots the three ball extremely well and spreads out the floor. If the team can improve down low, they’ll be much more difficult to beat.
For the Golden Knights, this year looks bright, but better yet, the future looks brighter.
“It looks great,” Wolfson said. “We have the best freshmen class since I’ve been here. Our group is finally turning the corner in terms of playing the way our staff wants them too, and the culture has changed for the better.”