Senior guard Alec Wong and junior guard Aldis Petriceks hustle for the loose ball against the Milpitas Spartans during Senior Night Wednesday. The Vikings went on to win, 61-38.
– Edward Mei
The Palo Alto High School boys’ basketball team (19-4-0) defeated the Milpitas High School Trojans (10-12-0) tonight, 61-38, on Senior Night.The team was led by junior forward Aubrey Dawkins, who scored 21 points to lead all scorers. Fellow junior forward E.J Floreal finished second on the team in scoring with 14 points.Dawkins started out on point in the first quarter, hitting two consecutive three pointers and making a key block that gave the Vikings an early 9-4 lead. But defense and missed shots dominated the rest of the quarter, which ended with a slim 9-6 lead for the Vikings.The two teams continued to battle in a tightly contested second quarter as they traded baskets. However, the Vikings were able to pull away in the final minutes of the half as Dawkins, Floreal, junior guard Mathias Schmutz, and senior point guard Alec Wong all scored. A last-second half court shot by Wong fell short as time expired in the first half and the Vikings went into the locker room up 25-17.The Vikings continued to stretch the lead into the second half, as Floreal dominated the inside, grabbing rebounds and hitting a pair of short jump shots. The second unit came up big in the second half as well, with junior guards Aldis Petricecks and Schmutz scoring nine points apiece while providing some rest for Wong and Dawkins. The Vikings secured their victory with solid defense and consistent scoring through the end of the game. The offense fired on all cylinders in the fourth quarter: Floreal devoured rebounds and putbacks while Schmutz and Petricecks delivered from the three point line. Senior forward Michael Augustine helped put the game away with a free throw at the 1:19 mark of the fourth quarter. Fitting with the theme of the night, the crowd erupted when Augustine scored his only point in the game, celebrating not only his, but all of the seniors’ effort put in during these past two years.“It’s their last home game and we have one more game to go and we want to win a championship for those seniors,” head coach Adam Sax said.With only one game left in the regular season, Sax described what the team has learned this year.“We learned that we have to play defense for 32 minutes and we have to do a better job of blocking out, get out on the shooters,” Sax said. “I think that when you play those elite teams that have shooters, they’re going to make you pay. So I think we’re doing a lot better job defending right now.”The Vikings’ last game of the regular season will be against the Homestead High School Mustangs (9-14-0) at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, at Homestead.