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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Vikings narrowly defeat Titans in first rivalry match

Palo+Alto+High+School+Viking+junior+small+forward+Jorell+Clark+attempts+a+layup+while+two+Henry+M.+Gunn+High+School+Titan+defenders+attempt+to+block+the+shot+Saturday+night+during+a+crosstown+rivalry+match.+The+Vikings+edged+out+the+Titans%2C+62-57%2C+in+a+game+that+nearly+saw+a+comeback+by+the+Titans+in+the+fourth+quarter.+According+to+Vikings+head+coach+Jeff+LaMere%2C+the+team%E2%80%99s+effort+in+their+practices+leading+up+to+this+game+really+showed+in+their+performance.+%E2%80%9COur+guys+really+played+hard%2C%E2%80%9D+LaMere+said.+%E2%80%9CHats+off+to+Gunn+%5Bthe+Titans%5D+because+that+was+a+great+high+school+basketball+game.+They+have+very+good+players+who+can+make+tough+shots.%E2%80%9D
Celina Lee
Palo Alto High School Viking junior small forward Jorell Clark attempts a layup while two Henry M. Gunn High School Titan defenders attempt to block the shot Saturday night during a crosstown rivalry match. The Vikings edged out the Titans, 62-57, in a game that nearly saw a comeback by the Titans in the fourth quarter. According to Vikings head coach Jeff LaMere, the team’s effort in their practices leading up to this game really showed in their performance. “Our guys really played hard,” LaMere said. “Hats off to Gunn [the Titans] because that was a great high school basketball game. They have very good players who can make tough shots.”

In the first crosstown rivalry matchup of the season, the Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ basketball team (3-1) beat out the Henry M. Gunn High School Titans (1-2), 62-57, on Saturday at Gunn High School in a game filled with strong offensive drives and a narrow comeback attempt.

According to Viking head coach Jeff LaMere, the gym filled with spectators, and the intense Paly school spirit boosted the morale of the players during the matchup.

“I want to give a big shout-out to the students in the community that came out to the game,” LaMere said. “The atmosphere tonight is what every high school kid wants to play in front of. … I just want to thank them for taking the time on a Saturday to come to this game, and hopefully, we see them out at some more games.”

Viking junior point guard Gavin Haase said all the players were excited to play in the rivalry match, especially after coming off a narrow loss last Tuesday against the Milpitas High School Trojans (3-0).

“We ran through their [the Titans’] plays and scouted them a lot,” Haase said. “There was definitely a different energy going through the practices because we knew how important this game was.”

The first quarter was filled with back-and-forth action, with both teams putting pressure with their offensive plays. The Vikings took the lead after a dunk by junior small forward Jorell Clark followed by a 3-pointer by senior shooting guard Riley Yuen, ending the quarter with a score of 14-9.

The Titans recovered the point deficit at the beginning of the second quarter, with help from senior James Ford who had seven unanswered points. However, the Vikings regained the momentum with a 3-pointer from senior shooting guard Tyler Frick and then another transition dunk by Clark. The quarter ended with a score of 35-22.

Palo Alto High School students cheer their team on from the bleachers. (Photo: Celina Lee)

LaMere said despite the lead coming into the second half, the Vikings still needed to keep their mental and physical game strong to maintain the lead.

“One thing we talked about is we’ve had some leads at halftime in games and then we ended up losing the game,” LaMere said. “We talked about trying to be able to sustain energy and effort throughout the next 16 minutes.”

The Titans emerged from the break with a strong performance in the third quarter, scoring two 3-pointers and making seven free throws while limiting the Vikings to only five successful shots. Although the Titans made up some ground, the Vikings were still up 48-41 at the end of the quarter.

The fourth quarter began with back-and-forth scoring between the two teams. The Vikings stretched their lead to 11 points early in the quarter. Soon after, the Titans managed to cut the score gap to only five, but the Vikings’ defense strengthened in the latter half of the fourth quarter. In the last seconds of the match, Viking senior Alaap Nair made a pair of free throws to cap off the Vikings’ 62-57 victory.

According to Haase, the team’s constant pressure throughout the match was able to help them keep the point advantage in all four quarters.

“There were sometimes where we had some turnovers or we weren’t making shots, but we really were locked in on the defensive end and were playing hard throughout,” Haase said. “I think our effort and intensity was the reason we won that game.”

Titan senior guard James Ford said although they lost, the Titans gave their all throughout the match.

“Everyone cared a lot about the game and gave it their all,” Ford said. “I think we could improve in the future by being more patient and letting the game come to us.”

The Vikings are scheduled to play their next league match at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against the Mountain View High School Spartans (1-3) at home.

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About the Contributors
Maxwell Zhang, Editor-In-Chief
Maxwell Zhang (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his sophomore year and wishes to pursue management and STEM in college.
Kevin O'Brien, Reporter
Celina Lee, News Editor

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