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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Vikings triumph over Eagles with extra ‘Breaking Down the Walls’ crowd

Palo Alto High School Viking junior small forward Jorell Clark dribbles the ball behind senior center Aiden Hangebrauck as three Los Altos Eagles defend him. The Vikings defeated the Eagles, 39-31, after a comeback in the second quarter Thursday night at home. According to Clark, the Vikings had to give this game their all as the Eagles wanted revenge. “This game we already knew we did it one time, and they were gonna come back for vengeance,” Clark said. “We needed to compete no matter what, as they’re gonna compete too.” (Photo: Evan Chien).

In a game filled with extra excitement from the stands, the Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ basketball team (6-2) beat the Los Altos Eagles (4-3), 39-31, after a second-quarter comeback on Thursday night at home.

Last week, a program called Breaking Down the Walls ran from Tuesday through Friday aimed at enhancing school culture and fostering connections among students. There, students were encouraged to attend a game to demonstrate their school spirit, leading a larger-than-usual crowd at the game.

According to junior small forward Jorell Clark, the additional students in the crowd motivated the Vikings to play harder.

“It [the additional students] helped us before by giving us that extra motivation to compete, and cheering us on when big plays happened,” Clark said. “We really appreciate that, and we encourage them to come out again.”

According to Eagle junior guard Colin Chou, the team had confidence coming from their last few wins.

“We’ve won four of our last five games,” Chou said. “So we just tried to come out as strong as we’ve been [in past games], but came short.”

The Eagles started strong, quickly gaining a six-point lead, but the Vikings were able to recover with multiple well-placed shots, ending the first quarter 9-8.

In the second quarter, the teams continued to trade points, but the Eagles pushed forward thanks to a couple of precise 3-pointers from Eagle junior forward Christian Saric and a steal by Eagle junior guard Benjamin Brierly. The Vikings were at as deep as a 9-point deficit, but the offense continued to apply pressure and nearly tied the game by halftime, 19-20.

The Vikings’ defense shone in the third quarter, with the Eagles only getting 5 points. Clark nailed shot after shot, outmaneuvering the Eagles’ defense and even causing his defender to fall over. By the end of the quarter, the Vikings led 32-25.

The fourth quarter commenced with a series of fouls. The Eagles struggled to make successful shots through the Viking defense, and the Vikings capitalized on this by hitting several free throws. Clark also executed a high-arcing one-handed hook shot, known as a skyhook, and the Vikings were able to secure the win 39-31.

According to Eagle head coach James Reilly, the Vikings played well the whole game and did not give them [the Eagles] many opportunities.

“Palo Alto’s really organized, good, and it’s hard to win here,” Reilly said. “We played a good first half, but we didn’t play as well in the second half. They played well the whole way through.”

Reilly said the game was low scoring due to the teams being familiar with each other.

“We’ve played each other a bunch, and … there’s not a lot of surprises,” Reilly said. “They’re very good defensively, and Clark especially is really good.”

According to junior point guard Gavin Haase, the Vikings showed tremendous effort but still has room for improvement.

“I don’t think we played the best, but we played really hard,” Haase said. “We played great defense, … but we got to be better offensively. We got to convert our open shots.”

The Vikings are scheduled to play their next league match at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the Milpitas Trojans (4-3) at Milpitas High School.

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About the Contributors
Nathan Jiang
Nathan Jiang, Editor-in-Chief, Webmaster
Nathan Jiang (Class of 2025) joined The Voice in his sophomore year and enjoys playing tennis, learning and loves meeting new people!
Alex Chang
Alex Chang, Engagement Manager
Alex Chang (Class of 2026) joined The Voice his sophomore year and enjoys playing tennis, meeting new people and reading.

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