Never losing its lead, the Palo Alto High School girls’ basketball team (2-4) beat out cross-town rival Gunn High School (4-2), 49-45, in a tight game Saturday night in Paly’s Big Gym.
The win for the Vikings was especially exciting as the Titans have defeated the Vikings in each of the past two years.
“It was revenge for the team last year,” freshman guard Lauren Koyama said.
The game was close all the way through, but the Vikings managed to maintain their lead the whole game. The first points on the board were put up by the Vikes when sophomore guard Siggi Bengston drove down the court to the basket then snapped it out to sophomore guard Maddy Atwater for a three-pointer. The momentum seemed to follow the Vikings after being the first up on the scoreboard.
The roar of the crowd intensified the game as more fans showed up for the widely known Paly vs. Gunn rivalry.
“The Gunn games are always special because we get the most fans,” head coach Scott Peters said. “So when you get a victory in that it feels extra special because of that special environment that the Gunn vs. Paly rivalry has.”
The Vikings led by seven at halftime, but by the end of the third quarter Gunn had shortened the deficit to three points. The Titans put more pressure on the Vikes in the last quarter by playing full court press and putting more points on the board as they lessened the Vikings’ lead.
The match-up was aggressive and physical, with both sides maxing out on team fouls in the last minutes.
“Staying aggressive is good because being aggressive on defense and getting boards helps the team,” sophomore guard Coco Lovely said. “It’s one of the most important things you can do.”
Peters was impressed with his team’s performance and wishes to continue improving skills for future games.
“This team is improving day by day and this win will help our confidence and help us to keep working,” Peters said.
The Vikings’ next game is against Lynbrook High School (3-3) 7 p.m., Feb. 4, in Paly’s Big Gym.