Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Steven Garverick drives to the basket Friday nigh against Wilcox.
The end wasn’t pretty, but the Los Altos High boys basketball team played well enough in the third quarter to make sure it didn’t matter.
The Eagles topped Wilcox 57-49 Friday night, overcoming a ragged final quarter in which they made just one field goal.
The Chargers outscored host Los Altos 14-7 in the fourth, but the third belonged to the Eagles. Los Altos exploded for 19 points while limiting Wilcox to eight.
“In the third quarter we opened it up and got ourselves a cushion because we actually played our best basketball,” said coach Bob McFarlane, whose Eagles secured a share of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division title with a 10-0 record and improved to 15-7 overall. “In the first half we were a little lackadaisical and that kept it close, and at the end of the game we got a little careless and took our foot off the pedal a little bit and got comfortable, and that was dangerous.”
No player proved more dangerous in the third than Los Altos forward Steven Garverick. The 6-foot-4 junior scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the period. Garverick made all four of his shots – three drives and a 3-pointer – and also contributed to the cause in other ways.
“Garv was just a beast on the boards and played great defense,” McFarlane said. “He had a great game and played selflessly.”
Joey Malgesini had his moments as well. The junior totaled 14 points that included a trio of treys, the first coming on the opening shot of the contest.
“Joe’s a gamer,” McFarlane said of the forward. “He’s one of the best shooters in the league, for sure. You just can’t leave him alone on the 3-point line – he’s going to knock that down.”
Malgesini’s pull-up jumper from just inside the arc gave the Eagles their biggest advantage at 50-33 with 1:53 left in the third.
Wilcox (6-4 league, 10-10 overall) didn’t surrender, however. The Chargers scored eight straight points in the fourth – the last six by Rajbrinder Singh – closing the gap to 54-45 with 1:55 remaining. Garverick snapped the streak with two free throws, providing Los Altos with a commanding 11-point lead at the 1:18 mark.
But McFarlane wasn’t ready to relax, despite Wilcox’s woes on offense. The Chargers missed a plethora of point-blank shots in the game and misfired on 12 of their 15 attempts from 3-point range.
“They’re a dangerous team,” he said. “I really didn’t feel comfortable until the last 14 seconds.”
McFarlane expected the Eagles to encounter another formidable foe Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s press deadline. Los Altos was scheduled to visit second-place Fremont, a team the Eagles edged 74-71 a month ago.
“That’s a big game,” said McFarlane, whose team had a chance to clinch the league title outright with a victory. “At this point, our No. 1 goal is to win league and No. 2 is to go undefeated.”
Los Altos is scheduled to conclude league play 7:45 p.m. Friday at home against Monta Vista.