Boys basketball: Matadors survive at the buzzer against Santa Clara High School

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Boys basketball: Matadors survive at the buzzer against Santa Clara High School

Pranav Iyer

Story by Pranav Iyer and Aditya Pimplaskar.

Cheering fans piled into the gym, packing the stands on the night of Jan. 9 as the Matadors took on the Santa Clara Bruins. For the first time all season, home court advantage actually had a significant impact for the Matadors, giving them the much needed edge in a game that would go down to the wire. 

The game started off fast, with both team trading baskets. The Matadors got much of their points through dribble penetration by their guards, especially junior Golan Gingold, who set the tempo of the game. The Bruins, who outsized the Matadors, did most of their damage inside the post. However, their lack of ability to knock down open jumpers cost them crucial points that would haunt them later on in the game.

Junior Golan Gingold drives to the basket against Santa Clara HS on Jan. 9. His aggressiveness on the offensive end helped create open shots for the Matadors. Photo by Aditya Pimplaskar.

At the end of the first half, when players dove for a loose ball, a shoves and words were exchanged by both teams. Santa Clara HS was charged with a technical foul as well as a personal foul, and as a result of the scrum, blood poured from one Bruin’s face, around his eye. Thus, the Matadors hit four straight free throws to pull away slightly as they headed into halftime with a 32-29 lead.

The Bruins came out strong in the third quarter by creating better spacing and scoring in transition. The Matadors, on the other hand, could not get any offensive rhythm and were plagued by turnovers, scoring only six points in the quarter.

The fourth quarter started with the Matadors down by two, but they eventually regained the lead due to timely and with just over a minute left, Gingold hit a floater from the elbow, giving the Matadors a three point lead. The Bruins had to play catch-up from there and it became a free throw shooting game. Clutch shooting from the line by Gingold and juniors Ashween Manimaran and Andrew Ding allowed the Matadors to retain the lead.

Down by two, with two seconds remaining in the game, a Bruins player took an open shot from point-blank range and missed it. The buzzer sounded and the crowd went wild, but the refs decided to put 0.4 seconds back onto the clock because the ball was knocked out of bound by a Matador player before the horn sounded. The Bruins tried to get the ball to the same player who missed the previous shot. He caught it in the same location and the shot was off again. The crowd erupted for a second time, but now the Matadors could celebrate finally the victory, winning 55-53.