Boys basketball: Matadors defeat Los Altos 49-44

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Rachel Lu

Junior Tommer Schwarz drives to the basket. He made nine points in the game against Los Altos on Jan. 11. Photo by Rachel Beyda.

For three quarters, the Matadors held a comfortable lead. Then came the fourth quarter where Los Altos made the first two point shot, then another, and then multiple free throws to make a short comeback.

Los Altos took the lead 39-40, but MVHS quickly responded with quick shots and a resurgence of strong defense. On Jan. 11, the Matadors pulled out a 49-44 win with senior Thomas Jennings leading with 15 points, followed by junior Tommer Schwarz with 9 points.

Height aided the Matadors as they were able to aptly cover the tallest players of Los Altos, and defend with a strong man-to-man defense. Although Los Altos attempted to contain MVHS with a full court press, the Matadors used the pressure to their advantage, gaining many fast breaks from the slow Los Altos recovery.

“We actually did pretty well this time [with defense] because some games we are really sloppy and they score a lot of points off of it,” sophomore Ramana Keerthi said. “But then this game we did pretty well.”

The Matadors made a strong first impression, with a three-point shot made by Jennings, holding Los Altos scoreless 6-0 four minutes into the first quarter. Though MVHS still held the lead at the end of the first quarter, Los Altos was able to come back 8-6 after a briefly breaking through the Matadors defense.

In the second quarter, Schwarz once again opened up the quarter with the second three-point shot of the night. With a fast-passing game to route the Eagles defense, consistent shooting, and several free throws, MVHS increased the lead up to 20-9. However, Los Altos once again closed the gap to 21-16 by half time.

After half time, MVHS passed quickly and moved around constantly, forcing Los Altos to break down on defense. Senior George Geha was able to score six points in the quarter bringing the score to 32-22, the biggest lead of the night. But by the end of the third quarter, the Matadors started to slow down, letting Los Altos make fastbreak points, decreasing the lead to 36-28.

In the last quarter, the Matadors’ lead shrank to 36-30 and continued to shrink as Los Altos played tighter defense, stopping the Matadors from taking open shots. On defense, MVHS was unable to keep up with Los Altos, resulting in a three-pointer. With a little under six minutes left in the game, Los Altos took the lead for the first time 39-40.

“It started off as one turnover, and then it became a three [point shot] and then it just kept going,” sophomore Ramana Keerthi said.

With less than five minutes remaining, the Matadors were able to once again break the Los Altos press, due to the frequent missed shots from LAHS. Jennings ended the night with two more three-pointers, making the end score 49-44.

Despite the breakdown in the fourth quarter, the Matadors were still able to win against the former De Anza (“A”) League team.

“I guess its unexpected because Los Altos moved down from the upper division, so we weren’t expecting it to be this close of a match,” senior George Geha said. “[We gained] confidence. And when we come back and play them the next game, it will be good.”