On Friday, January 12, the boys varsity basketball lost to Los Gatos 48-49, in an action-packed home conference game. After coming off of a previous loss to Los Gatos in league play, Los Altos looked to improve on their result and definitely came close.
“Our team emphasized and really wanted to focus on defense,” junior Jordan Gorospe said. “They outmatched us in size… and what we wanted to try and do was to be a little more physical and keep them off the glass. And we battled hard and wanted to put an emphasis on our defense.”
Early on in the first quarter, both teams traded blows leading to very intense and relatively even first period of play. Threes from junior Ahmad Washington, senior Kenny Hamel and sophomore Nolan Brennan helped the Eagles got the start they wanted, up 11-8.
Ahmad began the second quarter with a brilliant piece of skill to convert a layup, amid pressure from Los Gatos defenders, and Los Altos threatened to turn the tide of the game. But the Wildcats managed to stay with the Eagles, with the help of some costly turnovers. After a three by Los Gatos with three seconds left in the second quarter, the Eagles were down 21-18 at the half.
“We came into the locker room and… we really wanted to push the ball,” Jordan said. “They were bigger and getting really tired, and we wanted to use our speed to get up the court and be patient on offense, execute our plays, and once we found the flow to our game, we made a lot of better decisions that kept us in the game the whole time.”
The late three by Gatos took away from the Eagle’s second quarter momentum with the Wildcats scored four successive points to increase their lead. Although Los Altos seemed to struggle, with 6:10 left in the third quarter, Ahmad hit a shot clock-beating three to stun the crowd. Even so, careless turnovers led to easy transition points for Los Gatos.
After trailing by as much as seven in the third quarter, the Eagles cut down the deficit to two late in the third. To cap off the 7-2 run by the Eagles, sophomore Matt Eberle hit a fade-away basket to tie the game up at 37-37.
The fourth quarter began much like the first, with both teams trading points to keep the game close. A three by Matt early in the quarter gave Los Altos some much needed momentum. With the Eagles down 49-46, Matt hit two crucial free throws to keep the game within one, but a last second heave by Nolan Brennan fell just short, and the Eagles lost disappointingly.
“We were down some guys and we had to step up,” Jordan said. “What we want to do next game is play as good of a defense as we played this game and probably better. We really want to come with this intensity and this same focus, the exact same thing we did [this game], and we want to bring it into our next game. We played with a lot of passion and we want to play like that again every time.”
Despite losing and making some turnovers, the Eagles managed to stay close against a foe much larger and more physical than them. The Eagles will play Gunn on Wednesday, February 17 at Gunn in an away conference fixture.