The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Boys Basketball falls to Saratoga High School 53-47

Matadors fight to take the game into overtime
Yixuan (Joyce) Li
Senior Tate Jun springs into the air at the beginning of the game to fight for the jump ball.

Varsity Boys Basketball fell to Saratoga High School on Thursday, Feb. 9. With SHS taking the first seven points of the game — mainly due to multiple layups from SHS senior Brooks Overton — MVHS struggled to keep up in the first half of the game, and the game ended with the Matadors down 20-9 in the first quarter and 24-15 in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the team managed to close the gap to 37-33 and tied the score 40-40 in the final quarter. However, MVHS was unable to maintain its energy in overtime, ultimately ending the game 53-47.

With MVHS’ efforts to catch up in the third quarter, the team narrowed the gap and forced a timeout by SHS. As the game progressed, junior and shooting guard Stanley Du made a pivotal three-pointer, followed by a quick possession and layup by senior and small forward Matthew Lau, closing the gap to 35-33. MVHS ended the third quarter with a close score of 37-33. The momentum continued into the fourth quarter as the team scored several free throws and another three pointer, bringing the game to a tie of 40-40 with just 30 seconds remaining.

Senior and center Tate Jun says that the team could have worked harder in staying in their respective positions and not letting outside influences affect their play. He says that most of the time, he is naturally able to get over mental pressure because “the more time I play, the more space I get in my head.” However, Jun expresses his overall regret for the result of the game.

“It was really disappointing, especially because we played really hard and we went to overtime,” Jun said. “We’ve got to focus on staying disciplined and not fighting back against the refs and the environment because that’s something we just can’t control.”

Assistant Coach Gokul Pillai agrees that the situation was a little rushed, as if the team was scrambling for the ball. Specifically, he notes that there were many plays where MVHS could have taken the lead but did not quite pull through.

“We’ve played really well to fight back,” Pillai said, “We were down early, came back big time and had a chance to seal the game. But I think it’s just late-game execution. We struggle a little bit in just maintaining our poise.”

Both Pillai and Jun acknowledge the buzz of energy surrounding the players as a contributing factor to the high pressure. As it was SHS’ senior night, the bleachers were packed with cheering SHS students who had come to support their team. Many waved shimmering red pom poms or stomped on the ground, filling the gym with noise. Jun hopes that the MVHS team can find time to work on handling such situations.

“My goals and expectations for the rest of the season are to play hard and to work together as a team, but especially to stay composed in these really tough environments,” Jun said. “There was another game like this in Cupertino where there were tons of fans and tons of noise. So we just have to draw that out of our heads and focus on the game itself.”

Pillai says SHS’ strategy was to focus on aggressive offense and persistent defense. Specifically, he mentions SHS was actively trying to steal the ball while simultaneously taking advantage of MVHS’ tight formations, which made it much easier to defend against MVHS.

“Before overtime, we had to inbound the ball,” Pillai said. “If we did it right, we would have won the game, but we didn’t get enough space. SHS returned the ball around the inbound and then they got the ball. They called a timeout and got an easy layup.”

SHS senior and point guard Brooks Overton also says SHS’s playing style is fast-paced and aggressive. He mentions he is normally a shooter but is willing to play in other ways, whether by scoring layups, staying on defense, playing midrange and more. According to Overton, his team loves to shoot but is always ready to rebound on the defensive end. He believes it is his team’s ability to play hard, compete and push one another to be better that allows them to perform at a high level.

“There was no pressure,” Overton said. “We just went out and had fun. It was our night, and we wanted to lock in and play well. We doubled down on defense. It was all about not giving them shots, not giving them easy shots and making sure we didn’t foul.”

While SHS and MVHS have played one another in the past, ending with another close win for SHS, Overton considers this game to be a more satisfying win. He says that he was aware of MVHS’ prominent players and was ready to face them even before the game had begun. Especially on SHS’ senior night, Overton appreciates the adrenaline rush of being surrounded by cheering fans while going into a high-stakes overtime. Overall, he hopes his team can make it far in CCS because he wants to “go forward with my teammates for the last year I have.”

Jun wholeheartedly supports the idea of finishing the season with his team alongside him. Jun says that during this game, he and the team went into the game with the mentality of trying to beat SHS, especially because MVHS is on the brink of making it to CCS. Though it was a tough loss, he is sure the team will bounce back on its senior night against Homestead High School on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Jun says if there were one message he could give his teammates, it would be to keep playing as a team.

“Stay together,” Jun said. “Play together. Be each other’s backs. That’s one thing that’s important to us. We’ve just got to keep us together.”

About the Contributors
Shannon Yu
Shannon Yu, Staff Writer
Shannon Yu is a sophomore and staff writer with El Estoque. She loves playing volleyball and piano. At night, she watches true crime psychological thrillers until she is unable to fall asleep. She should probably stop that habit.
Yixuan (Joyce) Li
Yixuan (Joyce) Li, Staff Writer
Joyce is currently a sophomore and a staff writer for El Estoque. When she's not busy meeting deadlines or looking up cat breeds she's less likely to be allergic to, she enjoys playing her violin, listening to music, and writing.
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