Boys Basketball suffers defeat in first round of playoffs

The Atoms faced the West Springfield Spartans in a tough first round of the district tournament. It was a hard fought battle for the atoms.
“I wish we played like that every game. We came out with so much hunger and played unselfish,” Senior Samer Ighrayeb said.
The Atoms were trailing for most of the game but the Spartans were never up by more than eight points the whole game.
“I think we played hard but it wasn’t enough,” Junior Jordan Adams said.
Both teams knocked down their threes and exploding in the paint. Junior Dontae Johnson was the Atoms leading scorer with 20 points. Adams also had a huge contribution with 16 points.
In addition, Adams had a half court buzzer beater to bring the game within three. This gave the Atoms momentum coming out of the half where they took the lead coming into the third. The Atoms played well in the first half but the third quarter was what hurt them the most getting outscored 20-13.
“I felt like the Atoms were the better team. Also, we felt like everyone was on the same page therefore we felt unbeatable,” Ighrayeb said when asked what was going through the minds of the players throughout the game.
Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long,  but the Atoms were still in the game. The Atoms struggled with rebounding and had free throw trouble, shooting just 6-10 from the line.
If the Atoms were to make their free throws, the game would have been in their hands, especially with O’Connell transfer Lewis Djonkam in foul trouble. The 6’7 opponent controlled the paint down low by opening lanes and getting rebounds for the Spartans at O’Connell. He was considered as one of the best  rebounders in the WCAC.
“West Springfield crushed us down low,” Adams said when asked what he thought the faults were in the game.
Going into the fourth quarter, the game couldn’t have been any closer Johnson was being authoritative in the paint while Adams was controlling the three. The game had a close end, the final score 55-59, leaving the Atoms with an unfortunate loss versus the Spartans.
When asked about how the game went Ighrayeb, said, “There were no faults really. Every shot was a good shot. You can’t win every battle. We played for the scoreboard, not the scorebook.”
This was the most unselfish game the Atoms have played all season, with the ball moving around looking for the best chance to score.
The boys struggled throughout the regular season but exceeded expectations against West Springfield. It was a hard fought game and the Atom’s future is looking good. Although seniors Ighrayeb and Dini Mohamud won’t be able to join the Atoms next year, the rest of the Atoms have plans to improve their game to during the break to win it next year.
When asked what were their plans for spring Dontae Johnson responds, “We have spring league soon and off season workouts.”