In its final home game of the regular season, the boys basketball team beat Milpitas 66-50. After being honored during Senior Night, seniors Kenny Hammel and Bailey Thayer put in strong performances to lead the team to the win.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair with both teams trying to establish their own style. Milpitas’ players, who were all taller than their Los Altos counterparts, looked to dominate the post and create second-chance opportunities. On the other side, the Eagles knew that to have a chance, they would have to establish long-distance shooting to spread out the Trojan defense. Los Altos was led by sophomore guard Nolan Brennan, who hit two three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Los Altos an 8-4 lead early on. He scored eight of his team-high 19 points in the first quarter, but Milpitas hung around, and a buzzer-beating layup gave the Trojans a 13-12 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, Los Altos took control. After Milpitas extended its lead to four, the Eagles came back with an offensive onslaught. With 5:26 remaining, junior co-captain Adam Rosenbaum drilled a three-pointer to give the Eagles a 20-18 lead, and Los Altos never looked back. Seven points from Kenny and eight from sophomore Matt Eberle gave the Eagles a 32-26 lead going into halftime.
The second half saw the Eagles exert their will on the Trojans. Milpitas still was able to out-muscle the Eagles in the low post to get offensive rebounds, but each time a Trojan came down the ball, two or three white jerseys were on him immediately, contesting shots and forcing turnovers which led to transition layups. Offensively, the Eagles looked as good as they had all season. Kenny, Nolan, and Matt led the charge; together they combined for 49 of the Eagles’ 66 points, and eight of the team’s ten three-pointers.
The Eagle lead stretched to as many as 24 in the fourth quarter after a 10-0 run, and when the final buzzer sounded the team had won 66-50.
It’s fitting that on senior night the team’s performance was led by its two seniors. On one end of the court, Kenny turned in a career night with seventeen points.
“It was a big night for Kenny,” Bailey said. “He was moving the ball fast up the court, he was pushing the tempo, and that was one of the biggest differences. They couldn’t run with us.”
On the other side, Bailey might have been the unsung hero of the game. On a team with really only two active centers and going up against players much taller than him he led the team with nine rebounds and was a steady presence down low.
In a season of ups and downs, the win was a bright ending for the team and its seniors.
“It was a total team effort,” head coach Bob McFarlane said. “Those guys pulled for each other, they really wanted to win it for the seniors… both Kenny and Bailey had probably their best games of the year, so it was neat to see… Senior Night go well for us to finish strong, and for those two guys to play well.”