Basketball defeats Sequoia 61-47 in first round of CCS

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Alys Olmstead

Noah Phillips (’14) jumps to block a shot by a Sequoia player. Phillips finished the game with 15 points.

In a hostile environment in the last game played in the historic big gym, Paly delivered against long-time rival Sequoia with a final score of 61-47 in their first game of CCS. The Vikings will move on to face Menlo-Atherton at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, at Piedmont Hills High School.

The game began with a slow start from both sides. Sequoia got on the scoreboard first, but the Vikings held them to a 2-0 lead until 6:52 in the first quarter. Matt Fogarty (‘14) earned Paly’s first point by making a free throw late in the quarter. Despite the slow start, momentum began to shirt with Fogarty scoring a layup in transition for the Vikings. Keesean Johnson (’14) came up big for the Vikings later in the quarter forcing a lot of turnovers and causing havoc on the defensive end.

Johnson led the Vikings at the end of the first quarter with 12 points, contributing to a first quarter score of 22-8 Paly.

“Keesean was kinda the catalyst for it,” said Coach Sax of his teams high energy performance on the court tonight. “He brought a lot of energy in the first half and he made our biggest run.”

The team came out strong in the 2nd quarter, scoring 4 points early on. Towards the middle of the quarter Sequoia began to come back, but every basket was retaliated with another by Paly. Johnson made another two points, and two more were earned by Justin Hull (‘16) with an assist by senior Noah Phillips (‘14). A three was scored by Clark Schmutz (‘14) which was followed by another four points by the Vikings making the game 37-18 at the half.

Along with the teams standout performance on offense, Coach Sax noted their defensive play as what greatly contributed to their win.

“A lot of guys really stepped up defensively, and that’s what we gotta do,” said Coach Sax.

Going into the third quarter Paly continues to dominate the game with another three by Schmutz and a steal leading to Kevin Mullin (‘15) scoring a layup on a breakaway. Adding on to not only their score, but the teams 6 steals in the first half.

Despite continuing to hold Sequoia, the Vikings struggled to make baskets, leading them to only score seven points in the third quarter. Going the into the fourth quarter Paly continued to lead with a score of  44-24. With only 15 minutes of play remaining Sequoia begins to strike back scoring five points right away.

“I think we came out the first three quarters and played well, but in the fourth quarter I think we could have played a little harder,” said Johnson of the teams fourth quarter performance.

Allowing Sequoia to come back and decrease Paly’s lead to 52- 41 with 1:53 left to play, the Vikings continued to have to play hard until the whistle blew. Paly stayed alive, despite the shift in momentum, scoring the majority of their fourth quarter points by making free throws.

“Noah really came out and made all his free throws go in when we needed them,” said Johnson of fellow senior Phillips who made six free throws in the fourth quarter.

With an overall team effort the Vikings came out victorious with a final score of 61-47. Paly looks to keep the momentum rolling in this single elimination tournament.