Auggie Johnson and Jez Lawson, two of the five senior basketball players for Coast Union’s 22-4 team, took time Monday, Feb. 27, for phone interviews about their team and season.
Johnson, who led the Broncos in scoring in the 2016-17 season with 321 points and scored 12 points in the semifinal loss Friday night to the Sherman Indian High School Braves, said that defeat was “devastating. We were the No. 1 seed, and we expected to win it all.”
“It was a shock. I’m still trying to get over it right now,” he explained, adding that joining the Broncos baseball team should help him refocus on the rest of his senior year.
Noting that pregame activities were cut short because the team van didn’t arrive at the Sherman Indian gymnasium until 40 minutes before game time, Johnson said, “I hadn’t really broken a sweat from warmups. Leading up to that moment, it seemed like all the odds were against us.”
It’s definitely been a ride with the guys — we have come so far, and our chemistry has grown to heights that I never thought we’d make it to.
Jez Lawson, Coast Union senior
But looking at his career, Johnson said that playing basketball with his friends — since second grade with Lawson, Nick Roper, Roberto Cueva, Sam and Jack MacKinnon — “I will always remember that the most fun I ever had was playing basketball with those friends.”
“My final two years, with Mr. (Tim) May, a really great coach, I’ll miss being coached by him and I’ll miss playing with my friends that I grew up with. We all shared a pretty close bond.”
Jez Lawson, who scored 310 points on the season and netted 17 points in the game at Riverside, said, “Obviously it is a disappointment to lose because me and the boys have worked basically our whole lives for this one game. We wanted to go all the way to the CIF finals, but coming up one game short is pretty hard for all of us.”
“It’s definitely been a ride with the guys — we have come so far, and our chemistry has grown to heights that I never thought we’d make it to.”
I will always remember that the most fun I ever had was playing basketball with those friends.
Auggie Johnson, Coast Union senior
The late arrival at the gym “contributed to our bad shooting in the first half … it just wasn’t clicking as a team,” he said. “We didn’t have much to eat beforehand, and it just wasn’t going for us in the first half.”
Acknowledging that the Braves were a “pretty good team,” Lawson nonetheless said, “We could have definitely beaten them.”
Still, he noted that the Braves scored points after grabbing rebounds and when fouled: “They were definitely good at free throws. That’s kind of what killed us in the game.”
Notwithstanding his disappointment at losing the CIF semifinal, Lawson said, “I will think of my high school career as a really great time in my life. Bonding with my teammates and obviously coach May has been a big part of my life — mentoring me not only in basketball experiences, but in life experiences.”