Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Bongen enjoying leap to varsity as freshman

Mr. Falkner
Bongen (#13) is the first freshman to make varsity basketball since Kyle Wiltjer.

The Jesuit men’s basketball program saw something this year that has only happened twice under coach Gene Potter: a freshman made varsity.

Issac Bongen is a 6 ‘2 Guard and is an extremely skilled player. He is ranked 1st in Oregon and 26th in the country by Prep Hoops. He joins elite company as the third freshman to make varsity under Coach Potter. The two others were Kyle Wiltjer and Mike Dunleavy, who both won NCAA championships and later played in the NBA.

Bongen started his high school career off scoring 25 points against the OSAA 5th ranked Jefferson Democrats. That game helped him get his footing and confidence at the varsity level.

“It helps me just knowing that I could compete at the varsity level and just to know when to take my shots. And know what shots that I can make,” Bongen said.

The transition from middle school to varsity basketball is a big jump. Bongen has made the jump look effortless but he said the difference is drastic.

“The difference in play style is so different, the speed of the game is much faster. Every player on every team is so talented, and all the players are taller, faster and stronger than I’ve played against before. It’s a great new challenge for me though,” Bongen said.

In December, Jesuit participated at the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational against nationally ranked competition. The Crusaders competed well, finishing 2-2, with one of their losses coming to Perry (AZ), who’s ranked 85th in the nation.

“I felt like the team performed really well,” Bongen said. “We sadly lost the first game, but other than that, we played well in our games and grew as a team.”

On January 5th, Bongen and the Crusaders matched up with the OSAA 5th ranked Barlow Bruins. Bongen had 14 points with 4 three pointers including the game winner.

“It was pretty surreal. I didn’t think that everyone was gonna rush the court like that but I loved it so much all that support from everybody in the crowd. Just helped me perform well that game,” Bongen said.

As the season goes on the team’s chemistry has also. The team bonding off of the court has helped the success of the team on the court.

“We all have the same interests like working out like basketball and that type of stuff. So we just mesh together really well and all the guys have been so good to me, especially being the only freshman on the team, ” Bongen said.

Off the court, Bongen enjoys video games, hanging out with friends and family.

“Outside of basketball I like hanging out with my friends and family, playing video games and watching movies,” Bongen said.

Bongen also says that school always comes before athletics.

“My parents have always told me that school always comes before sports,” Bongen said. “My favorite class is definitely English. When I’m writing I feel just freed from all the stress of high school.”.

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