On Jan. 8, Palo Alto High School students stormed the Henry M. Gunn High School basketball court after the Vikings took the win with a score of 74-56. Aside from the crosstown rivalry, this was a major victory for Paly as the Titans were undefeated up until this game.
The first quarter was evenly played, ending with the Vikings holding a razor-thin 14-13 lead. The boys stepped up their game during the second quarter and expanded their small lead to 33-31. Breaking the stalemate in the second half, the Vikings began to substantially increase their lead over the Titans.
“In the second half, our defense was really solid, and we forced a lot of turnovers which created a lot of offense for us,” junior Ethan Stern said. “Whenever our offense isn’t really working, we can count on our [defense] to pick us up.”
The boys’ solid defense created opportunities for key players to put points on the board. Named the most valuable player of the game, junior Miles Tention was one of the pivotal players of the match.
“[Tention] racked up 25 points and shot well from beyond the [3-point] arc in the second half,” sophomore Max Dorward said. “He also set his teammates up well.”
Besides being a crucial player on the boys’ team, Tention was nominated for the Get Sports Focus Game Changer of the Week award, eventually coming in second.
Get Sports Focus is an online magazine focused on Bay Area high school and college sports teams.
Paly’s ability to stick to their game plan resulted in their win, according to Dorward.
“We came in knowing they had some key players,” Dorward said. “And we [needed] to stop them on defense, which, in turn, create opportunities on the offensive side.”
Paly took on Los Altos on Jan. 15. The match did not prove to be satisfactory for the Vikings, with the final score of 62-69. Star players Miles Tention and Justin Hull were on the bench this game due to illness, hindering the team’s performance.
On Jan. 20, the boys took on Fremont High School, and lost 38-48. The game left much to be desired for the Vikings.
“We missed a lot of shots that should have gone in while [Fremont] made all of theirs,” junior Jack Simison said.
The Vikings pulled out the win last Saturday, Jan. against Pinewood 65-54.
Thanks in part to returning coach, Peter Diepenbrock, the Vikings have only lost five games this season with a 12-5 record. One of the Vikes’ few losses was against Saint Francis High School.
According to Diepenbrock, they may compete against Saint Francis again in the playoffs, and, to prepare, the boys will work on their ball handling skills. The Saint Francis team, according to Diepenbrock, is hard to beat because they are primarily tall, talented seniors with a lot of depth.
The Vikings have set goals for the rest of the season.
“I think the one thing we need to improve on is coming out stronger in the beginning of the game,” Dorward said.
The boys face the Gunn Titans for the second time tonight, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m.