Boys’ basketball easily handles South San Francisco, 70-52

Aaron Chum, Author

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E.J. Floreal rises up above the South San Francisco defenders for the layup in the Vikings’ second round CCS playoff game.

– Matt Ersted

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The Palo Alto High School boys’ basketball team (20-4-0) defeated the South San Francisco High School Warriors (14-15-0) tonight, 70-52, in the second round of the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs.

An early three-pointer by junior forward Aubrey Dawkins just 15 seconds into the game gave the Vikings a lead that they would never relinquish. The teams would trade baskets throughout the remainder of the first quarter, which ended with the Vikings up 24-17.

The beginning of the second quarter would see a brief Warriors comeback, as they closed the gap to 26-24 with five minutes left in the half. Following a Paly timeout, the Vikings would go on a 10-0 run thanks to seven consecutive points by junior forward E.J. Floreal and another three-pointer by Dawkins. Later, junior forward Aldis Petriceks would hit a three-pointer and Dawkins would make two free throws to break up a possible Warriors rally.

A half-court shot by the Warriors would bounce off the rim as time expired in the first half as the Vikings went into their locker room up 41-28.

Floreal would continue to pile on points after the break, scoring Paly’s first 10 points of the second half. Junior guard Mathias Schmutz and Dawkins would add the last five of the Vikings’ points in the quarter. Despite a steady stream of points by the Warriors, the Vikings extended their lead to 56-39 at the end of the quarter.

The Vikings would continue to keep the Warriors at a relatively large deficit in the fourth quarter despite the majority of starters being taken out, as players like Dawkins and Floreal watched much of the final eight minutes from the bench. The Vikings’ scoring would be capped by two free throws by Schmutz with 1:10 left in the game, giving them 70 on the night.

A final heave from half court by the Warriors would actually find its way into the net; however, time had already run out before the shot was taken.

Floreal led the Vikings with 23 points, including several electrifying slam dunks throughout the game. Dawkins and Schmutz also hit double digits in points, scoring 21 and 13 respectively.

Despite the 70 points by the Vikings, they often struggled to hold onto the ball, committing 20 turnovers.

“I think a lot of them [the turnovers] were forced,” head coach Adam Sax said. “We were trying to throw the deep pass, had about three or four bad post entry passes that we’ll have to clean up for Saturday. And we had about three or four strips.”

However, Sax still praised his team’s overall performance during the game.

“We pushed the ball and did a much better job scoring, got a lot of layups,” Sax said.

The Vikings’ next game will be against the St. Francis High School Lancers (13-12-0) on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Foothill College, time to be determined.

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