Close loss ends boys’ varsity basketball playoff journey

Allie Feitzinger, Editor-in-Chief

Paly Boys Varsity Basketball Vs. Wood
Despite a strong season, the Palo Alto High School boys’ varsity basketball team (23-5, 12-0) will not continue in the playoffs following a 33-40 loss against the Will C. Wood High School Wildcats (24-7, 8-2)  Tuesday night in the Peery Center.

The Vikings entered into the first round of California Interscholastic Federation Division III playoffs as the No. 1 seed, while the Wildcats were number 16.

Viking senior Ryan Purpur said the team had high hopes as it began the playoffs, but struggled to meet its full potential during the game.

“Going into the game we felt very confident,” Purpur stated in a message Wednesday to The Paly Voice. “During the game we simply lost focus of our goals and played down to our opponents’ level, which ended up costing us the game.”

Throughout the game, the Vikings and Wildcats were neck and neck, each team fighting to reclaim a slim lead. The Vikings maintained a strong defense during the game. As the final quarter wrapped up, the Wildcats extended their lead, gaining several points off foul shots.

While both teams struggled with shooting at times, Purpur managed a successful layup within the first 20 seconds of the first and second quarters.

Entering into the third quarter with a seven-point deficit, the Vikings managed to make two three-pointers within the first minute and seemed to be building momentum. Seniors Will Deandre and Jamir Shepard made the shots, the first successful three-point attempts of the game for the Paly team. After two successful foul shots by Purpur, the Vikings reasserted themselves 18-17.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, the quarter wrapped up 23-27, and the Wildcats maintained the lead as the game resolved, though the Vikings put on the pressure for the final quarter.

According to Deandre, it was disappointing to lose in the first round of playoffs, but the season as a whole was a success for the Vikings.

“We had high aspirations for the state tournament so it definitely stung to lose in the first round,” Deandre stated in a message to The Paly Voice. “This was the most fun I have ever had playing basketball in my life because of the bond that we had as a team, and it’s sad to see the season end. However, we are all still proud of what we accomplished this year going 12-0 in league and winning CCS.”

Though the loss marks the end of the season for the boys, the season was a great experience as teammates challenged one another and grew closer together, Purpur said.

“Every day we pushed each other to be better,” Purpur stated. “I’ve honestly never been a part of something like this team. It felt like a family which is something very special.”