A story-esque stage was set, waiting for the perfect ending which just barely rattled off the rim and out.
First experiencing the joy of a 15-point half time lead against the Gunn Titans (6-3) on Friday, February 4, the Eagles (2-7) then endured the pain of a 23 point swing, as this season’s playoff hopes faced their execution with a minute left as they were down 48-40. Knowing that a 6-6 record was required to make the playoffs, the Eagles clawed back using a strategy of fouling the Titans and making quick shots off of missed free throws, of which the Titans had many in the final minute.
Senior Forward Scott Yuan capped a run of successful Eagle possessions by calmly swishing a three with 6.5 seconds left to make the score 50-47. Finishing up a run as perfect for the Eagles as the rest of the second half had been horrid, Gunn managed to turn over the ball, inbounding the ball into a player who had a toe out of bounds.
Unfortunately, the magic needed to extend their hopes didn’t extend into the final seconds. Off the inbounds pass, senior guard Andrew Carp first missed a three long, which junior guard Bemi Onipedi managed to rebound. Racing out to the three point line, his desperation three as time expired just grazed the front of the rim, ending the game and the Eagles playoff hopes.
The Eagles had been up 14-29 at half, playing superb defense on the heavily favored Gunn, causing many turnovers. To being the second half though, the Titans found their touch despite the Eagles still playing tight defense. A wave of momentum surged through Gunn as they hit a bevy of three pointers, knocking down the difficult outside shots that hadn’t been falling in the first half. The Titans eventually took the league 38-36 at the end of the 3rd quarter as the Titans followed up a rare missed three with an offensive rebound and putback.
The Eagles offense had gone ice cold, only scoring seven points in the quarter. Their struggles and Gunn’s success continued in the fourth, till the tides finally turned with a minute left. But the deficit proved too much to overcome.
The Eagles will continue their season in a home game on Tuesday, February 8 against Los Gatos.