Matadors blown out by Gunn High School 69-38

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Matadors blown out by Gunn High School 69-38

Pranav Iyer

Before last Tuesday, the Matadors sat in third place in the El Camino League, with an 8-12 overall record and a 5-5 league record. They were right on the bubble of the CCS Division 1 playoff picture and they knew that getting a win in their next game would be big for them. They would need to win at least one more of their remaining three games to be eligible for the playoffs. But to actually make the playoffs they would likely need more than just one win and possibly some help from other teams.

The Matadors knew it would be no walk in the park against the Gunn High School Titans on Feb. 10, a team that handed them a 70-48 defeat on Jan 20. Although the Titans do not appear as a dominant basketball team due to their lack of size, they make up for it with their teamwork and tenacity. And to make matters worse, the Matadors played without senior Andy Wang, a star player who sprained his ankle earlier in practice.

Junior Mark Geha shoots a hook shot around a Titan player. The production from the Matadors' post players were one of their only positives in the game. Photo by Pranav Iyer.

Junior Mark Geha shoots a hook shot around a Titan player. The production from the Matadors’ post players were one of their only positives in the game. Photo by Pranav Iyer.

The Titans secured an early lead and would remain in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the game. With the Matadors trailing by 14 with under two minutes left in the first half, they hoped to gain at least some momentum going into half time. Junior Ryan Granzella forced a steal, which led to an outlet pass to wide open junior Mark Geha. It seemed as though an easy layup was forthcoming, but to everyone’s surprise, junior Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich of the Titans came out of nowhere, climbed up the ladder to meet all 6 foot 5 inches of Geha at the climax of his jump and annihilated the shot. The whole crowd went crazy. Almost everyone in the building was ecstatic, except the Matadors, who had at that point lost all of their will to win. By halftime, MVHS trailed by 20. Head Coach Clay Stiver believes that the Matadors could have used this deficit as motivation instead of just hanging their heads.

“I almost wished they would get more frustrated with each other to get some spark and some passion out there,” Stiver said.

But the deficit got to their minds and led to their lack of energy in the second half. By the 2:15 mark in the third quarter, the Matadors were doubled up, 23-46 and with so many fouls being called, there was no chance for the Matadors to gain any momentum.

The Matadors eventually threw in the towel in the fourth quarter which allowed several fresh faces to get into the game. Many of them played relatively well, including Ryan Granzella and Ali Zaidi, so the team and Stiver had something positive to take from the game.

However, that was a minuscule footnote in the big picture. The final score of 69-38, a complete onslaught by the Titans. As senior Aunoy Poddar got pulled early with the game out of hand, he had an opportunity to focus on next game and what they need to do better. To Poddar, the solution is simple.

Junior Aunoy Poddar shoots a layup surrounded by several Titans. Throughout the game, the Matadors were unable to get any easy buckets. Photo by Pranav Iyer.

Junior Aunoy Poddar shoots a layup surrounded by several Titans. Throughout the game, the Matadors were unable to get any easy buckets. Photo by Pranav Iyer.

 

“It’s not hard stuff,” Poddar said. “We just have to be focused as a team, come out as a team.”

As the Matadors try to put this embarrassment aside, they focus their attention on their next opponent, the Saratoga Falcons, with an entire week to prepare. In what may be a must-win for the Matadors, Stiver’s game plan is to just focus on the fundamentals.

“Get back on defense, don’t turn the ball over, and rebound everything,” Stiver said.

The boys basketball senior night  will take place on on Feb. 20 at 7:45 p.m, against rival Cupertino High School.