FONTANA, CA – Citrus High School student-athletes hit all the big shots and showed all the right moves during an inspiring 2023 basketball season that saw the team go undefeated with a 13-0 record, on their way to the Inland Empire Alternative Schools League (IEASL) championship.
The Jaguars dominated their competition, outscoring them 686 to 337 during their unbeaten streak, highlighted by a stifling defense that on two separate occasions held their opponents to 16 points. This is the second year in a row that a Fontana Unified school has won the IEASL title, following Eric Birch High School’s championship season in 2022.
“We knew if we stayed academically eligible and injury free, we would have a legitimate shot of going undefeated and winning the championship,” Citrus High P.E. teacher and intramural sports coordinator Lu Tsai said. “This team bonded by being together all the time, before school and at lunch. This is a tremendous achievement for these young men and it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the support of our staff and administration.”
The Citrus High intramural program, administered through a partnership with the IEASL, has provided an incentive and opportunity for students to work hard, experience success and find the motivation to recover their credits before graduation. Coming from a variety of households throughout Fontana, the Jaguars team knew the challenge ahead of them and made a goal to pursue perfection.
“We knew we wanted the perfect record, so we took it one game at a time,” Citrus High student Alvin Augustine said.
The Jaguars’ on-court success received a considerable assist by the Citrus High administration and staff, led by principal Mike Bunten, who is a strong supporter of intramural sports and found funding to purchase new uniforms and equipment. Citrus staff donated money for player physicals and end-of-the-season parties.
Assistant principal Amanda Wade was in charge of day-to-day operations, helping students get to class on time, selling tickets to the games and donating money to feed the athletes.
“Our boys basketball team is full of young men who have come together to work toward success as a team,” Wade said. “They build each other up and display the respect, responsibility, and goal-oriented behaviors we expect from them as Jaguars. I couldn’t be prouder of our student athletes for everything they have overcome to succeed.”