Turns out Gunn’s full-court pressure defense was just what the Los Altos High boys basketball team needed to snap out of its almost season-long scoring slump. The Eagles broke the press time and time again for easy baskets en route to a 52-33 home victory Friday night.
“We’ve had some trouble scoring this year,” said coach Trevor Naas, whose team entered the SCVAL De Anza Division opener averaging just 45 points per game, “so the fact that our press break was executed well today and got some easy baskets was definitely big for us.”
Exceeding 50 points for only the third time this season, Los Altos (10-3 overall) scored 28 points in the paint.
That included six to start the second quarter – all courtesy of Brock Susko – to gain separation from the Titans (6-6). Susko scored off an inbound pass from Eric Jones to beat the shot clock, then made a pair of fastbreak layups to boost the Eagles’ lead to 20-10 with 4:22 left in the quarter.
Gunn got as close as eight points before Los Altos regained a double-digit lead before halftime that it would maintain the rest of the way. Jones split free throws and Susko capped the half by driving right for a layin with the shot clock winding down to give Los Altos a 25-14 edge. The sophomore finished with a game-high 16 points.
The Eagles pulled away in the third, opening it with a 7-0 run ignited by Chris Shell’s 3-pointer. Hunter Lunsford followed with a low-post basket and a fastbreak layup.
Los Altos’ lead ballooned to 38-18 when Jones converted a layin off a no-look pass from Susko with 29 seconds remaining in the third. On the Eagles’ previous possession, Chris Lewis buried a 3 from the left corner.
“At some key times in the second half, we had some good penetration and kicks,” Naas said of drive-and-dish plays that resulted in treys from Shell and Lewis. “Those are the kinds of 3s we want to see.”
Los Altos opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run featuring another 3 from Shell, who totaled 11 points. A free throw by Lewis with 4:52 to play gave the Eagles their biggest advantage at 46-23.
Naas was not only pleased with the win, but with how his inexperienced squad (no returning starters) has progressed this season.
“They compete really, really hard and they’ve improved a lot in these first few months,” he said. “Our games tend to be really low scoring and grind-it-out, but I like the toughness in this group. Our defense has kept us in a lot of games, and thankfully we’ve come out on the right side of most of those so far.”
Los Altos – which went 2-1 at the Aptos High/Santa Cruz Warriors NorCal Invitational during the holiday break – is scheduled to host Cupertino 7:45 p.m. Friday in league play.