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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 growing through epic losing season

Viking freshman shooting guard Eliana Miao prepares to pass to sophomore point guard Camryn Ogawa during the second quarter of the game against the Monta Vista Matadors Friday night at home. The Vikings’ defeat by the Matadors marks their 22nd consecutive loss of this season, with no games won. According to Miao, the young Viking team is still learning how to play as a team. “We’re all just going to keep practicing together,” Miao said. “We’re going to begin to come together as a team, talking a lot more on defense, cheering each other on, and just being calmer with the ball.” (Photo: Evan Chien)

The Palo Alto High School girls’ varsity basketball team added another loss to their 0-22 record with another defeat to the Monta Vista High School Matadors (8-3), 24-57, Friday night at home. Being down 18 points before scoring their first shot, the Vikings could only push forward through the mounting defeats. Nonetheless, high fives were still exchanged, and hopes for next year’s season remained high.

According to Viking freshman shooting guard Eliana Miao, the Vikings’ top scorer, they were in a bad starting position this season due to the lack of juniors, seniors and total players overall. Putting freshmen and sophomores in a varsity environment they are unused to and unprepared for is a challenge the team has been learning to overcome.

“This season was a really interesting one for us,” Miao said. “We have one junior and one senior, but in general, we’re a really young team. We just had to learn how to bond as a team and how to play with each other. We’re better day by day, but there have been a lot of challenges.”

The Vikings have struggled with an epic losing streak after losing the majority of their more experienced upperclassmen players, leaving only nine players, with the average high school basketball team having 15. Most of the sophomore and junior players quit at the beginning of the season knowing that the team would change with the previous coach retiring and other seniors graduating.

Viking senior small forward Eliana Friedman said that returning to the team was a tough decision for her. Friedman is the only senior still on the team, and there was only one other person Friedman knew from the previous year. According to Friedman, she knew that the entire team culture would have to be built up again.

“It was honestly a hard decision for me to come back because it wasn’t going to be the same program,” Friedman said. “I knew because it was a different coach and almost all different teammates.”

This left the underclassmen junior varsity team to take their spot. As a result, each player was active on the court more often, with exhaustion pervading the Vikings when the opposing team had substitutes at the ready. The Vikings’ 0-22 record is one of the longest losing streaks in the school’s recent history for basketball, and though the streak may continue, the team believes that the future holds brighter prospects.

According to Miao, their losses were not due to a lack of effort, but more a lack of experience. 

“Our team played well,” Miao said. “We hustled till the end, which I respect. But there’s a lot of things we can be working on — that’s what spring and summer basketball is for.” 

Even though the Matadors played aggressively and got early steals, the Vikings still hustled after every ball, making the most out of a game against the much more experienced team.

With each point scored, the Paly crowd cheered them on. Though a loss was to be expected, small victories remained to be celebrated. Each basket, steal and block were a sign of a learning, growing team, all fueling the outlook for next year.

The Vikings continue to look forward to their next match and season where the team will have gained more experience. The team is more than ready to put the losing streak behind them and enter a new era.

According to Viking head coach Kevin Blunt, the purpose of this season is mainly to give the younger team members more experience in a varsity setting to help them improve for the following years. 

“You got a bunch of kids that just came out of middle school and onto a varsity basketball court,” Blunt said. “So, it’s a really big change. Normally, you’ll have kids that come in as freshmen to play JV and gradually move up. But because the whole team was depleted from last year, this is what we have to do. Next year, I expect the Vikings to be a lot better, just because they have the experience.”

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About the Contributors
Evan Chien
Evan Chien, Senior Staff Writer
Evan Chien (Class of 2025) joined The Voice his sophomore year and enjoys reading, swimming, hanging out with friends and gaming in his free time.
Andrew Zhao
Andrew Zhao, Culture Editor
Andrew Zhao (Class of 2026) joined The Voice in his sophomore year and enjoys playing tennis and water polo.

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