Heavy underdogs heading into Saturday’s matchup against Paly (12-2, 3-0), the Gunn High School Titans (5-8, 2-0) played stout defense and methodical offense to keep the game close, before losing, 56-40, in the inaugural rivalry game of the Peery Family Center.
The Titans swarmed the ball on defense throughout the game, and created a number of extra possessions off turnovers in the first quarter, keeping the game within one score, 10-8.
Gunn head coach Brandynn Williams said they geared their defensive scheme specifically towards the abilities of Paly’s players.
“I coached them [Paly players] in 6th grade so I knew a lot of those guys and what their strengths and weaknesses were,” Williams said. “My philosophy is try to take guys’ strengths away and have them beat you with their second best skill set rather than their best skill set.”
Gunn was effective in taking Palo Alto out of their offensive rhythm all game, as the Vikings struggled to find their shot and were held under 60 points for the first time during their ten game winning streak.
Paly cut down on its own turnovers and created some on the defensive end in the second quarter, extending its lead to 10 points at halftime, 25-15.
Contrary to the third quarters of Paly’s two earlier losses this season, the boys turned up the intensity coming out of halftime, executing on offense and locking up on defense. Paly’s lead ballooned to over 20 points before it settled at 19 points at the end of the third quarter, 43-24.
The final quarter was more of the same, and Palo Alto led comfortably all quarter until the buzzer sounded a Viking victory, 56-40.
Senior forward Max Dorward led the Vikings with 13 points and 10 rebounds, senior forward Bryant Jefferson also added 13 points, and senior guard Spencer Rojahn scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Gunn senior Eli Russo led all scorers with 15 points.
With the boys’ win, Paly secured a 5-0 sweep of quad night.
Despite dominating performances from all five of Paly’s basketball teams, Schlemmer and the boys say they are not entirely satisfied with their result.
Up next for Paly is a home game against league opponent Homestead High School (6-9, 1-2) Wed. 7 p.m. at the Peery Family Center.