Preview: Boys Basketball to take on Los Altos in ranking-significant game

Avi Srinivasan and Joseph Kessler

Viking Senior point guard Jackson Martin faces off against Gunn Titan Ethan Kitch during a home game last season. This season, the Vikings are ranked second in the DeAnza league and are set to play against the Los Altos Eagles 7 p.m. Wednesday at home. Senior power forward and captain Mert Yanar said the team has to adjust its playing style for future games. “As a team we have to start bringing the intensity from the start and not let other teams push us around,” Yanar said. “Overall if we just start being more aggressive and more bring the intensity, then I think that’s gonna be the key to our success.” (Photo: Jonathan Chen)

Following its decisive victory against against the Mountain View Spartans on Friday, the Palo Alto High School boys varsity basketball team (3-1) prepare to protect its league standing against the Los Altos Eagles (2-2) Wednesday night at home.

The Vikings currently boast an impressive record in league play, only suffering one defeat, against Los Gatos, since the start of the league season on Jan. 4. According to senior captain Mert Yanar, the team needs to continue playing intensely to match the strong competition despite a strong start.

“We just got to come in and assert ourselves from the start [of the game],” Yanar said. “We got to bring the aggression, and I feel like we just got to come in with a mentality that we’re there to win and do nothing else but win.”

After defeating the Spartans, 55-47, the Vikings currently hold second place in the De Anza division. According to Yanar, sophomore guard Jorell Clark was especially impactful in Friday’s game, securing 14 points, five rebounds, and one dominant block for Paly. 

Clark was injured most of last season, limiting his participation on the junior varsity team. Now, he is one of only two sophomores who have moved up to the varsity team and is a starting guard.

“He [Clark] honestly blew me away this year,” Yanar said. “He’s our leading scorer, and we always go to him when we need a bucket.”

Los Altos is currently ranked fifth out of the seven teams in the De Anza league with a record of 2-2 , having lost against both Mountain View and Los Gatos. According to Clark, despite the ranking advantage for the Vikings, playing against Los Altos will be a difficult match-up.

“We just know they’re a group of guys who’ll compete hard and in order to combat that, we’ll need to be ready to leave it all on the court,” Clark said.

Beyond Wednesday’s game, Yanar said the team has hopes to protect its place in the league as well as place in the Central Coast Section playoffs.

“The main goal is first-off a league championship, and then build from that and hopefully win CCS,” Yanar said. “But right now it’s just focusing on league, protecting home court and just winning as many games as possible.”

Clark echoed Yanar’s sentiments by saying the team is looking to further its winning streak.

“We’re looking to still be very prevalent in the contention for winning league after our game on Wednesday,” Clark said. ”We’re going to try and bring a lot of energy coming into the game and compete hard against them in order to pick up a win.”

The Vikings will face off against the Los Altos Eagles at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home in the Peery Family Center.