Boys basketball bounces back

Patrick Mi

 Varsity boys basketball cut it close in their first league game of the year

 

 

Following a 4-8 preseason record the boys entered their first league game of the year against Mountain View, determined to win. They finished the game 53-44, bringing their record up to 5-8. 

 

The Matadors’ drive to win was apparent within the first minute of the game, with the starters quickly going on a short 4-0 run with four points scored by senior Krish Rangarajan. Though their initial rhythm slipped, Mountain View quickly brought themselves back in the game with strong transitions and defense, almost shutting the Matadors out for the rest of the first quarter. Poor passes and misplaced shots tied the Matadors down as Mountain View slowly built their lead, finishing the quarter 14-9. 
 


The mishaps continued through the second quarter, causing the boys to remain pointless for almost three minutes. Mountain View’s countless offensive rebounds cut through any defensive efforts the Matadors set up. With the quarter winding down, the Matadors’ shots finally started going in.  Beginning with two free throws made by Rangarajan, the Matadors came back at the end of the quarter with another three points by senior Kevin Wu . The half ended at 23-15 with the Matadors struggling to keep up.

"Our goal for the season is to win leagues, and when we saw that we were getting punked in [the first half] our first league game, we stepped up our defense to help us run our offense," sophomore Mihir Chavan said.

The Matadors came into the second half strongly, going on a 5-0 run with points by Wu, Rangarajan, and Senior Shan Hansra. The Matador’s defense began to step up when senior Jonathan Huang began shutting down Mountain View players. After the jump-start, the boys were within three points of Mountain View. With a strong comeback they finished the quarter still trailing, but carrying much more force, 28-22. 

The fourth quarter started off with a three-pointer hit by senior Eli Cagan, and continued with the Matadors in hot pursuit of Mountain View, with the Matadors trailing by no more than three points for the first part of the quarter. Chavan had an outstanding performance inside the paint, posting up and drawing many fouls, making six crucial free-throws in the fourth quarter, adding to his two blocks.  Mountain View tried to shut down the Matadors’ steady progression with a full court press, but  backfiring, Mountain view only ended up hurting themselves.  A three pointer by junior David Doi was followed immediately by a steal converted into a bone-crushing dunk by Rangarajan immediately changed the games momentum, finally putting the matadors up 37-34, with only a minute left to play. Mountain View managed to hit one more long-range shot, sending the game into overtime, tied at 37-37.

Overtime was the Matadors opportunity to shine, with no room left for mistakes. The boys had no trouble gaining and maintaining the lead early on in overtime, with points constantly added on with quick jumpers by Wu and excellent post work by Rangarajan and Chavan. After a struggle in the first half and an uphill battle in the second half, the Matadors finally pulled through in overtime, preventing Mountain View to catch up, and finishing the game 53-44. 


"In the first half it was just turnovers and missed shots, second half we did a better job of taking care of it. we got the ball inside and thats one of our strengths," coach Matt Tait said. 

The boys managed to turn things around this time, and hopefully in their next league game against Lynbrook on Jan. 13 they’ll avoid the mistakes that brought them down this game.