Boys Basketball Dunks On Mountain View in Senior Night Showdown


Sean Scott

Senior Matt Eberle leaps up for a shot in Los Altos’ 44-35 win over Mountain View at yesterday’s Senior Night game.

By Ian Tseng, Staff Writer

On the evening of Friday, February 16, a seemingly endless stream of students and family members filed into the gym to watch boys basketball’s last game of the regular season. As the players warmed up, the packed bleachers became a scene of contrast; on one end, the white was worn by Los Altos students to support the Eagles’ “whiteout” theme, while the other end of the stands was a sea of black and yellow. After all, what better way to finish the season for the Eagles (8-3 heading into the game) than a rivalry game against Mountain View (2-9)?

In their second confrontation of the season, the Eagles and Spartans fought all night in a competitive game of runs. As the rival teams battled for momentum in a close contest, the polarized crowd engaged in chants and cheers to taunt each other. Eventually, Los Altos pulled away for a 44-35 victory.

It was also Senior Night for the Eagles. In a pre-game ceremony, Los Altos honored seniors Nolan Brennan, Matt Eberle, Zach Espiritu, Simon Heck, Cal Littlewood (who was absent due to illness) and Jake Shab. Each senior walked down an aisle of players and cheerleaders with their family as their personal speeches were read aloud.

“It felt really good because they’ve supported me throughout my whole basketball career,” Jake said. “Just walking down with them really brought back a lot of memories with them.”

Once the game tipped off, Mountain View got off to a quick 4-0 start against the Eagles’ senior starters. Not to be outdone on their special night, Matt opened up scoring for Los Altos with a pull-up three, and electric cheers from the crowd sparked a scoring run by the seniors to end the first quarter up 14-8 for the Eagles.

“I know we were trying to be aggressive, and so I was definitely trying to look for my shot and trying to get my teammates involved,” Matt said. “Right when they took that lead, we just pushed on the gas pedal and never looked back.”

Los Altos continued to mount pressure on Mountain View, with Jake scoring a quick layup to start the second quarter. However, the Spartans soon found their rhythm and responded to each of the Eagles’ baskets to keep the game close. Then, a sloppy turnover from the Eagles left just enough time for Mountain View to run across half-court and nail a buzzer-beating three to end the half with a score of 22-18, Los Altos.

The Eagles came out of halftime firing, and sophomore Eric Jones splashed in a three (amidst “He’s a Sophomore” chants) to push their lead to 29-22. After another layup from Jake, Los Altos ended the third quarter up 31-24.

With victory only a quarter away, the Eagles opened the final period with a bit of showtime for the fans; Zach threw a pinpoint alley-oop pass to Matt, who scored a layup to finish the senior-to-senior connection. However, Mountain View refused to go away and cut the lead to 35-32 with just under four minutes left. With the Spartans remaining in striking distance, Jake responded by scoring five straight points. This quick outburst included a gritty and-one putback, which turned out to be the dagger with only a minute left to play.

“I was just trying to position myself for the offensive board because I knew the shot was going up,” Jake said. “Once I found it, I just tried to get under control and put it back up, and I got fouled and made it. So it was a pretty good way to finish [the game].”

Matt was able to ice the game at the free throw line, and as the seconds dwindled Mountain View was forced to dribble the game out while the Los Altos crowd chanted victoriously. As soon as the buzzer sounded, friends and family members rushed down from the stands to congratulate the Los Altos players on their win.

“I had my mom, I had my grandma, I had my grandpa all in attendance, and so I wanted to play for them,” Matt said after the game. “We finished off league strong at 8-4 — we’re in 3rd place, so we should get a pretty high seed [for CCS]. We’re just looking to make the deepest game possible.”

The Eagles did perform well in CCS seeding, earning a No. 6 seed and a bye into the second round. They will play either Milpitas or Carlmont, both of which have a 10-14 record, on Thursday.