Hornets Beam the Lasers


Sophomore guard Shaquil Bender brings the ball up the court looking to make a play Feb. 8, 2023 Photo credit: Phil Thurman

Quinn Cisneros, Staff Writer

The Hornets were fueled by a huge run in the first half Wednesday night during an away game, which allowed them to beat the Lasers 78-51.

The player that stood out during Wednesday night’s game was freshman guard RJ Banks who was money in the bank. At the end of the game, Banks and the Hornets celebrated their win with hugs and high-fives. Banks led the team with 19 points coming off the bench along with two assists and a steal.

Banks had no shortage of confidence, shooting 61% from the field. “I really just trusted my teammates. They were all in the right spots, so it made it hard for the defense to focus on me,” Banks explained.

The Hornets (25-1) had a tremendous first half, scoring with ease and playing great defense against the Lasers (4-21) forcing 13 turnovers alone in the first half while going on a 27-5 run, finishing 41-19. “It was easy to play one on one and get past my guy. I pretty much had a free lane to the rim tonight,” said Banks.

(Left to right) Kobe Newton, Shaquil Bender, Javon Jones and Mike Ofoegbu get together to listen to team leader Sean Newman Jr. Feb. 8, 2023
(Left to right) Kobe Newton, Shaquil Bender, Javon Jones and Mike Ofoegbu get together to listen to team leader Sean Newman Jr. on Feb. 8, 2023 Photo credit: Phil Thurman

Coming off a conference clinching win, this game can be seen as a “trap” game for the Hornets. These games are essentially meaningless when it comes to playoff positioning. So the Lasers came into this game on a 13-game losing streak. Yet, the way Fullerton played looked like this game was business as usual.

One of the key points for the Hornets was trying to slow down Lasers’ sophomore forward Charlie Henderson, who came into the game averaging 13.6 points. The Hornets succeeded in holding off Henderson, allowing him to just 2 points, shooting 1-8 from the field and 0-3 from three-point range.

“He was the focal point for us. He got in foul trouble, I thought we put some pressure on him in the first half [and] he got out of the game,” said Head Coach Perry Webster. “Sammy [Howlin] and Mike [Ofoegbu] did a good job on him, but it was a team effort. Guys were running him off the three-point line and not allowing him to get open shots.”

The game slowed down in the second half with the Hornets controlling the tempo. Both teams seemed to be missing shots and playing loose with the ball, as if they were both just going through the motions.

Shortly after, sophomore guard Kobe Newton contributed to the lead. Newton would score two spectacular “And 1’s” on back-to-back possessions that propeled the Hornets the rest of the half.

The Hornets would go on to send the Lasers to their 14th straight loss. Irvine Valley seemingly never got it going offensively by finishing the night shooting 33% from the field and 16% from three-point range.

Hornets freshman guard Jeremiah Davis contributed 16 points in the win followed by sophomore guard Shaquil Bender pouring in 14 points of his own.

Freshman guard David Ogunlade was the Irvine Valley’s leading scorer, putting up 16 points. Lasers freshman guard Marcus Carter also contributed 12 points in the losing effort.

The Hornets next matchup will be their last regular season home game. They will be facing the Saddleback Bobcats (17-9) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10th.