Both times the Mountain View High boys basketball team faced mighty Palo Alto in league play this season, the Spartans got within one possession of tying the game in the fourth quarter before the Vikings pulled away.
When the teams met in the Central Coast Section Division I quarterfinals last week, Mountain View had a chance to upset the SCVAL De Anza Division champs on the final possession.
Jailen Daniel-Dalton’s buzzer-beating 3 from the baseline bounced off the front rim, however, allowing top-seeded Paly to escape with a 45-43 home victory over the No. 9 Spartans Feb. 25.
“We ran a play for (Ryan) Bahar as the first option and he wasn’t open,” said coach Kevin Mack, whose Spartans went ahead for good in their second-round game at Homestead when Bahar buried a 3 with 1:05 left in overtime. “Jailen popped out and had a good look, just missed it.”
It was somewhat surprising that Daniel-Dalton even played in the quarterfinals; Mack doubted the senior standout would be available after reinjuring his right shoulder against Homestead three days earlier. But Daniel-Dalton’s doctor cleared him to play, the coach said, and the forward produced 12 points and 11 rebounds in the contest.
Bahar, a junior, led Mountain View with 19 points that included four 3-pointers. He and Daniel-Dalton both drained 3s during a 9-0 run in the fourth that cut the Spartans’ deficit to two with just more than a minute to play.
“Our guys didn’t give up and competed and closed the game great,” Mack said.
The Spartans (16-11 overall) got off to a great start as well, jumping to a 10-1 lead in the first quarter. But the Vikings (21-4) rallied to go up 24-20 at halftime. Mountain View entered the final quarter down 13 and trailed by 11 with 3:30 left, then went on its last-gasp run.
“I am so proud of our guys and their effort,” Mack said.
Eagles upset in quarterfinals
Los Altos limped into the postseason – having lost three of its last four regular-season games – and getting a week off before opening the CCS Division I playoffs didn’t cure what ailed the Eagles.
Los Altos, which earned first- and second-round byes as the No. 2 seed, fell at home to No. 7 Independence 61-54 in the quarterfinals Feb. 25.
“We didn’t play as well as we hoped at the end of the season,” coach Trevor Naas said. “We’ll try to learn from it, so it doesn’t happen again next year. I think it will motivate everyone to put the work in during the offseason.”
The Eagles committed 23 turnovers and 21 fouls in last week’s loss, leading to a total of 40 points for the 76ers.
“They’re an up-tempo, pressing team that’s physical,” Naas said of Independence. “Maybe some of it was fatigue, but we turned the ball over way too much to be successful.”
Los Altos (19-6 overall) fell behind 11-0 less than three minutes into the game but rallied to tie the score at halftime. The Eagles then surged ahead in the third quarter with a 23-15 run.
“We played great in the third – we got the ball into the paint, shared the ball well and hit shots,” Naas said. “But we traded baskets with them too much and probably should have been up more.”
The 76ers (16-10) countered with a run of their own in the fourth, outscoring Los Altos 24-9 to advance to the semifinals.
Junior Brock Susko led the Eagles with 23 points and sophomore Nico D’Augusta added 12.
“They played well and led us on the offensive end,” said Naas, who will lose five of his 14 players to graduation.
Lancers lose in Open semis
Seventh-seeded St. Francis pulled off one upset in the CCS Open Division playoffs – stunning No. 2 Riordan in the quarterfinals – but the Lancers couldn’t repeat that feat in the semifinals. Rival Bellarmine, the third seed, routed St. Francis 57-28 Feb. 26 at Independence.
St. Francis (15-11) trailed 29-12 at halftime and entered the fourth quarter down 47-20.
The Lancers season didn’t end there, however. Seeded seventh in the Northern California Division II playoffs, St. Francis was slated to host No. 10 De Anza (21-8) in Tuesday’s first round, played after the Town Crier’s deadline. The winner advances to Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Panthers fall to Pacific Bay
No. 6 Pinewood’s season came to a close with its 55-46 loss at No. 3 Pacific Bay Christian in the CCS Division V quarterfinals Feb. 25. The Panthers finished with a 12-14 record.