El Estoque

Boys basketball: Team takes part in Lynbrook HS Winter Tournament

Om Khandekar

Additional reporting by Anthony Moll

The only thing standing between the Matadors and the final round of the Lynbrook HS Winter Tournament was a long three pointer from the baseline, shot with four seconds left on the clock. Yet, the score was deceptive: the Matadors were up by as much as 11 points in the first half. The boys team’s tournament run ended in their semifinal matchup against Prospect HS, where the boys fell by a score of 37-34.

The PHS offense scores in the long drive against MVHS. MVHS lost their early lead in the last minutes of the game, eventually losing to PHS.

The boys came out strong, riding their momentum from a big 58-35 victory against The Harker School in the previous round. Everything was working for the Matadors; their defense was getting stops and steals, the offense was finding the open man by means of solid ball movement, and they were in the lead. Under the guidance of new coach Jim Forthoffer, the team found themselves comfortably ahead of PHS. Junior Zachary Whong and sophomore Akshay Gopalkrishnan were lethal, racking up steals and points from the paint. The Matadors were up 21-15 going into halftime.

Junior Zachary Whong scores off a steal and resultant fast break. Whong and Sophomore Akshay Gopalkrishnan were a major part of the MVHS offense against PHS.

MVHS leaves the court during halftime. MVHS had been in the lead for the first half.

Yet halftime served as the necessary catalyst for the PHS team. The Matadors were caught off guard by PHS’ transition to backcourt defense and their newfound intensity. PHS gradually cut the Matadors’ lead, and equalized the game at 34 with less than one minute remaining. A deep three pointer for PHS broke the tie, giving them their first lead since the first point of the game. The three pointer marked the end of the game, as the Matadors’ hail-mary attempts were fruitless. The Matadors tournament run ended in the semifinals at the hands of PHS, but they will look to the regular season to provide more opportunities for success.

In the second to last possession of the game, PHS scored a layup to claim the last minute lead. After MVHS was unable to score on the last possession, PHS ultimately took the win.