Boys’ basketball defeats Gunn 56-38

Spencer Drazovich, Staff Writer

The Palo Alto High School boys’ basketball team defeated Gunn High School at home Wednesday night 56-38. The win improved the team to an overall record of 12-2.

The Vikings struck first as Aubrey Dawkins (‘13) scored a tip in, off a missed shot by Mathias Schmutz (‘13). Later in the first quarter as a Gunn player broke away with a steal for a lay up, before point guard Alec Wong (‘12) blocked the shot. Despite strong efforts by Gunn, Paly was able to pull away in the first behind a three pointer from Dawkins and seven points from Isreal Hakim (‘12). The score at the end of the quarter was 15-11, Paly.

As the second quarter opened Paly came out to score. Wong started off the scoring in the second half by scoring two-points off of a pass from E.J. Floreal (‘13). After missing two free throws Floreal started his night by draining a field goal and then following it up on the next possession with a slam dunk. Floreal’s back to back baskets extended Paly’s lead to 22-16. After a Gunn three pointer, Floreal scored a field goal and Schmutz scored a three pointer on consecutive possession. Then Aldis Petriceks (‘13) secured a steal that led the Vikings fast break. After a behind the back pass to Hakim and a missed lay up, Dawkins flew in and drained a slam dunk to add two more points to the Paly score. As the quarter came to an end both teams headed to their locker rooms with Paly leading 33-20.

Paly lost no momentum as the second half started and their lead was never threatened for the rest of the game. Gunn started the second half scoring with a fast break lay up caused by a steal. Paly answered in momentous fashion by going on a 12-0 run until Gunn finally scored with 2:31 left in the period. The run included, a three pointer by Wong, a Dawkins field goal and an alley-oop from Schmutz to Floreal. As the quarter wound down to inside the three minute mark fouls began to plague Paly’s defensive effort. Within 30 seconds Paly committed three fouls, one of which led to two made free throws by a Gunn player. With seconds left on the clock Hakim made the last field goal of the quarter. Going into the fourth quarter Paly led 47-26.

Hakim picked up right where he left off to start the fourth quarter. On Paly’s first possession he drained a turn around jump shot from the corner to extend Paly’s lead to 49-26. Gunn answered by getting fouled and earning two shots from the charity arc. Gunn split the free throws and put the ball back in Paly’s hands. Dawkins wasted little time making a field goal with 6:10 left in the quarter. Gunn made a lay up with 5:13 left in the game. As both teams each split a pair of free throws Paly got the ball back with 3:00 left in the game leading 52-30. With quick ball movement Paly eventually found Tory Prati (‘12) open in the post where he scored a lay up securing two more points for Paly. Hakim scored again scored one more lay up marking the end of Paly’s scoring for the evening. Gunn ended the game on an 8-0 run but it proved to be too little too late. As time ran out the final score read 56-38, Paly.

Paly’s scoring effort was led by Hakim who ended the night with 17 points including five off free throws. Floreal and Dawkins also helped Paly significantly by scoring 12 points apiece.

Following the game Coach Adam Sax was very pleased with the players overall effort.

“They played with a lot of energy. Coming off a loss the boys were kind of down the last couple of days but this was a rivalry game and they played well.”

Floreal echoed Sax’s comments about the strong play of the team in the victory while also pointing out a strong performance by teammate Aubrey Dawkins,

“I thought Aubrey really stepped up today,” Floreal said. “I’ve never seen him get a tip dunk like that or rebound the way he did tonight.”

With this victory the Vikings have a renewed energy and passion in their season. Paly next takes the court Friday night against Cupertino.