On paper, the girls basketball team had little chance against first-place Los Gatos, and after a quarter, it seemed that the stat sheet wouldn’t lie. However, in the second half, the Eagles proved the old sports adage: there’s a reason they don’t play the games on paper. Despite falling in a hole early and ultimately being unable to fully come back, the Eagles held their own against the Wildcats in one of their best showings of the season.
The game began about as bad as it could have for the Eagles. Turnovers on their first two possessions were indicative of what was to come. Good defense held the Wildcats scoreless for the first two minutes, but after the Wildcats got on the board, the floodgates opened up. After a quick answer from senior Rachel Glein, the Los Gatos trap held the Eagles scoreless for the next five minutes. At the same time, they expanded their lead to twelve before senior Meg Enthoven hit a free throw to make the score 14-3 with under a minute remaining. Back-and-forth scoring put the Eagles down 17-5, at the break.
Whatever head coach Jaclyn Brode said to the team between quarters worked in the short term in the second. After Los Gatos extended its lead to 21-5, the Eagles went on a little run on their own. Junior Alyssa Cortinas hit a three pointer, and Meg drove for a layup to cut the Wildcat lead to 23-11, forcing them to take a timeout. However, out of the stoppage, the Wildcats began playing like the best team in the De Anza League again, stringing together a 7-1 run to close out the half and take a 30-12 lead into halftime.
Had the first half not been so lopsided, the second half would have felt like the intense, close game it really was. Los Altos managed to cut down on its turnovers, all but eliminating the Wildcats’ transition points, and the two teams went back and forth in a physical third quarter. The referees did their best to control the game, but both teams spent much of the time at the free throw line. A choppy quarter ended with Los Gatos only extending its lead to 44-23, but the Eagles were gaining momentum.
Out of the gate, it looked like the fourth quarter was going to be more of the same slow game. But two minutes in with Los Gatos up 49-25, the pace changed. Suddenly, it was the Wildcats making the mental errors, and Los Altos capitalizing on their mistakes. The Eagles ran off 9 straight points, and despite the deficit, they had all of the momentum.
“The second half — the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter — that’s the basketball I know we’re capable of playing,” Brode said. “To see it come out, and the girls get excited, and to get back into that game, it was a good half. I’m proud of them.”
Meg led the charge, tallying six points and seven rebounds in the final quarter alone.
“Especially on rebounds, it’s so great knowing that there’s a person like Meg out there who’s fighting for every ball and playing her heart out,” senior Rachel Glein said.
Meg finished the game with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Allegra Maeso added on 11 points, all in the second half. The two combined to score all but eight of the Eagles’ second half points.
Despite the furious comeback, the hole Los Altos dug itself in the opening quarter was too much, and the Wildcats won 52-41.
Normally, an eleven point loss would be nothing to celebrate, but against a team like Los Gatos, the way they finished made the team optimistic.
“That’s the most encouraged I’ve felt after a loss,” Brode said. “[The fourth quarter] was the best quarter of basketball we’ve played all year… Hopefully we take that quarter and we build on our final two league games and then see what we can do in the first and second round of the playoffs.”
The Eagles will be back on the court next Tuesday, February 16, when they play at Gunn. They’ll then conclude the regular on Friday, February 19 at home against Saratoga for Senior Night.