Boys’ basketball manhandles Homestead 63-49

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Kevin Mullin (’15) prepares to take the ball down the court. Mullin had four three-pointers during the game.

Priscilla Bell, Staff Writer

The Paly boys’ basketball team claims victory over Homestead Mustangs Wednesday night advancing them to a 4-2 record in league and 9-8 record overall.

“I think it was a good win,” captain Noah Phillips (’14) said. “I thought we finished pretty strong.”

Homestead scored an early three-pointer, but Kevin Mullin (’15) quickly passed to Keesean Johnson (’14) for a layup in transition. Team captain Clark Schmutz (’15) sunk a three-pointer to tie the game 5-5. Homestead gained a lead of 11-8 and a timeout was called by coach Sax with 26 seconds left in the quarter. Matt Fogarty (’15) managed to convert a uncovential three point play to decrease Homestead’s lead to 11-10. The quarter ended 11-11.

Mullin opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, but Homestead quickly turned the ball around and scored one as well to keep the game tied at 14-14. The Vikings began putting many baskets in, with Phillips scoring his first three-pointer and quickly making a basket off a rebound. The Homestead offense was held off, and the Vikings called a timeout. Phillips and Mike Grandy (’16) each scored before the Mustangs scored at the buzzer, ending the first half with a Viking lead of 29-18.

The third quarter opened with the Vikings winning a short fight for the ball. Mullin hit another two three-pointers in a row to get the Vikings to their greatest lead of 35-18. Phillips scored a basket after Homestead to keep the lead, but Homestead managed to score a couple baskets against the Viking defense. Justin Hull (’16) scored his first basket of the night and a foul was committed against him, but the free-throw was missed. The lead was shortened to 39-25. Two fouls against Homestead were made at the end of the quarter and the score settled at 43-32 with the Vikings still in the lead.

Homestead opened the last quarter with two baskets, but Schmutz quickly made a three-pointer. Another Viking foul was committed, and Homestead scored on the free-throw. Johnson scored a basket, but two fouls were committed and Homestead gained four points. Fogarty completed a pass to Phillips under the basket who easily made the basket. Many fouls on both sides were committed and the Viking lead had decreased 60-49 before the last timeout of the game was called. Fogarty and Mullin were both fouled in the final minutes to leave the score at 63-49.

Homestead player Troy Whitford was the Vikings’ biggest worry heading into the game.

“We scouted [Whitford] and we knew what he wanted to do, and we were able to stop him,” Schmutz said. “We took [him] out of the game. Keesean played great defense on him, and we were just tuned in defensively.”

Coach Adam Sax commended the boys’ defensive play overall, and especially that of Fogarty.

“Defensively it was outstanding; probably our best defensive game of the year,” he said. “They really played hard – trapping well. Our rotations were better, and then on the defensive boards we went after it. Matt Fogarty had his best game of his Palo Alto career today – got rebounds, took four charges. Outstanding job.”

With the great defensive play that the Vikings had, there are still things that Sax believes the team can improve on before its next game against Milpitas.

“We’ve got to keep up the intensity,” Sax said. “We aren’t always going to shoot the ball well, so our defense always has to be there. We’ve got to have a little more movement; sometimes we stand around a lot, but if we continue moving and playing solid defense, good things are going to happen.”

The Vikings play at Milpitas High School at 7:45 p.m. on Friday.