Boys’ basketball season ends with heartbreaking loss against Katella High School


Lauren Kaller

On the night of Feb. 8, 2023, Foothill Technology High School boys’ basketball faced a devastatingly close loss to Katella High School in their first round of CIF playoffs with a score of 50-53. Jacob Lombardo ’23 (number 25) and Sam Noah ’23 (number 33) work together in an attempt to block an opponent as he drives in for a floater.

Nisha Reddy, Reporter

On Feb. 8, the Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) boys’ basketball team played a heart-wrenching final game in their first round of California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoffs against the Katella High School (Katella) Knights. Although they put everything into the game, the Dragons lost by three after a fourth quarter comeback, causing their season to end to the tune of a 53-50 final score against the Knights.

Jenna Ostrom

Daniel Ferrer ‘24 said of the expectations before the game, “Before the game, all that we really expected from ourselves was to really put everything out on the floor, give it everything we had. For the seniors, because they’ve done everything for us, we wanted to play well for them in return.”

Sam Noah ‘23 won the tip for Foothill Tech and scored on the first possession with a crossover into a left handed layup.  Nick Drucker ‘26 started off playing great defense as well, getting up close and personal with his opponents and bringing up the fast-paced activity to start the game. In spite of his efforts, Katella jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead off of a series of floaters, putbacks and free throws. On the other end of the floor, Noah was called for an offensive foul, then proceeded to drive down the court for a step back bank shot on the following possession. A timeout was then called by the Knights, slowing down the momentum of the Dragons. The quarter ended with a bank shot from the same spot by Noah as time ran out, and Katella was in the lead, 10-6. 

Foothill Tech leads the game at the start of the fourth quarter by a score of 38-30. The crowd watches with anticipation as Aidan Gomez ’25 (number 10) catches a clean pass from Ashton Brown ’26 (number 11) for a wide open three. (Lauren Kaller)

Noah started off the second quarter with a three pointer. Drucker came up with a steal which led to a fast break and was fouled to make two free throws. Jacob Lombardo ‘23 finished a layup off an assist from Noah. Leading scorer Ashton Brown ‘26 entered the scoring with a deep three. Noah and Brown both converted mid range shots before Brown hit another three, and suddenly Foothill Tech had garnered a 23-12 lead.

Katella responded to their newfound double digit deficit with three straight layups, the last of which was an and one to bring them back within striking distance at 23-19.

Noah carried the rest of the second quarter, with two points plus a free throw off of a give and go with Gavin Graves ‘23, and another free throw off of a shooting foul which ended the first half with a score of 27-19, Dragons up.

Scoring slowed significantly in the second half. Katella converted the first field goal in the form of a floater, and Brown gained the first few points for Foothill Tech with a short midrange shot off of a post up. Layups were traded once again when Drucker received a bounce pass from Noah and finished the contested shot at the rim. 

A timeout was called by the Knights in an effort to help regroup their defense. The back-and-forth continued with a three from Brown, two from Katella, a layup from Noah, and an and one from the Knights.

A midrange jumper from Brown and an answer from Katella ended the third quarter with a score of 38-30, advantage Dragons.

The fourth quarter started, an intense hunger of comeback in the Knight’s play. They started the quarter off with a three pointer. Drucker followed with a two pointer, but then began Katella’s onslaught. The Knights ripped off a 13-0 run and scored inside and out. The series of layups, midrange shots and one three pointer gave them the lead at 46-40. 

Both teams work hard in the fourth quarter and the score becomes 44-40 with Katella dominating the game. Nick Drucker ’26 (number 52) drives toward the basket in an attempt to draw two defenders closer, leaving one of his teammates open for a quick, easy shot. (Lauren Kaller)

Ashton Brown ‘26 explains what the team could’ve done better, “Passing the ball better, and just getting the ball into every player’s hands during the times we really needed it.”

The run was finally called when Noah assisted Drucker for a corner three. 

Now down four after a Katella free throw, Lombardo picked off a pass, followed by a timeout called by Foothill Tech. Brown missed a three and was followed by an Aidan Gomez ‘25 foul, and the Knights made one out of two free throws to make the score 48-43, Katella. 

Noah drove in and drew a foul but also only shot one successful free throw. Lombardo fouled Katella, allowing them to make one free throw. Brown made a three, bringing the energy in the crowd to new heights as Foothill Tech called a timeout, down 49-47.

Lombardo fouled the Knights, who this time converted both free throws. A full timeout was then called by Katella, in the lead 51-47.

Foothill Tech rushed the ball up the court and Brown made another miraculous three while double teamed and the crowd burst into hopeful cheers. Another full timeout was called by Foothill Tech with six seconds left, down 51-50.

The Knights inbounded the ball and were fouled by Noah. Once again, they went to the line and made two free throws. The Dragons got an inbound for the last time, and Drucker found Noah for a shot in the last few seconds. The three pointer missed wide left as the players and bench screamed for a foul, but the game finished in a score of 53-50, Katella. 

With that, the Dragons season came to an end after losing their first round CIF game. Emotions went around and tears fell as seniors hugged each other and underclassmen, thanking everyone for a great final season on the court.

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