“Cut off baseline! Help middle!” Palo Alto High School boys’ basketball (9-2,1-0) head coach Peter Diepenbrock says as he commands the Vikings in the heat of play against league opponent Milpitas. Diepenbrock’s fiery demeanor on the sideline exemplifies the energy the Vikings intend to carry over to the game on Friday.
Coming off a 58-43 victory against Milpitas High School (4-9,0-1) on Tuesday, the Vikings are looking to play to their strengths against the Gunn High School Titans (9-3, 0-1) at 7:45 p.m. on Friday at the Gunn gym for “Quad Night”. Paly hopes to continue to rely on junior starters forward Max Dorward and guard Jared Wulbrun, along with consistent ball movement on the court.
Junior center William Schlemmer said the team didn’t showcase its full potential during its first league game, despite receiving the win, and hopes that the team will come ready to play against its cross-town rivals.
“I think my teammates and I are looking to perform much better on Friday,” Schlemmer said. “However, we should treat the Gunn game just like every other game because it shouldn’t have to take a rivalry game to make us play our hardest.”
Some may remember the Titans giving Paly a run for their money during the 2015-16 season, beating the Vikings on Quad Night. However, Gunn lost its superstar, graduated senior Alex Gil-Fernandez, as well as senior Jonathan Davis, a key role player on the team’s starting lineup. Paly, on the other hand, lost sole senior forward Justin Hull, whose role was quickly filled by junior sharp shooter Jared Wulbrun.
Diepenbrock said he hopes the team will play its own style of ball and keep Gunn’s star player, 6’6″ senior forward Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich, off the boards.
“The team is looking strong when [it is] able to play [its] style, which is pressing defensively full court and being aggressive in offensive transition,” Diepenbrock said. “Gunn has a very good player, [Lee-Heidenreich]. We have to contain him and not let him get lots of offensive rebounds.”
Senior captain point-guard Miles Tention will once again assume his role as ball handler for the Vikings with support from fellow starters Schlemmer, Dorward, Wulbrun and junior guard Spencer Rojahn.
Dorward, who has displayed himself as the team’s most valuable player throughout the preseason and the first De Anza League game, hopes to avenge last year’s loss and ensure that the Vikings finish at the top of the league.
“This is a huge game because they are our cross-town rivals and we are looking for revenge from last year’s loss,” Dorward said. “I’m really excited for the opportunity to get another win and put ourselves in a good position to finish [at the] top of our league.
The Paly Sixth Man Club instructs senior students to wear camouflage and remaining students to wear all green to showcase school spirit in the stands.
Next up for the Vikings is a home game against the Los Altos Eagles this coming Tuesday, January 10th, and away against the Wilcox Chargers next Friday, January 13th.