Eagles' season ends in semis; St. Francis, Pinewood fall to rivals

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Los Altos’ Nolan Brennan, shooting a floater over Mountain View’s Sam Tobin, scored 17 points against Los Gatos.

The season didn’t end the way the Los Altos High boys basketball team had hoped, but it lasted longer than some expected. The Eagles reached the Central Coast Section Division I semifinals as the sixth seed.

Los Altos faced a familiar foe in the Feb. 27 semis and, unfortunately for the Eagles, the result was familiar as well. No. 2 Los Gatos beat them for the third time this year, prevailing 76-54 at Piedmont Hills.

The Wildcats jumped to a 20-8 lead in the opening quarter.

“We got off to a slow start on offense, and we weren’t getting out to their shooters in transition,” said senior swingman Matt Eberle, who totaled 12 points for Los Altos (17-10). “After the first quarter, we started to focus up and buckle down on defense and cut the deficit down to six.”

Eagles coach Trevor Naas added: “I really liked our fight in the second quarter.”

Los Gatos (20-6) pulled away in the third, however, outscoring Los Altos 23-14.

“In the third quarter, LG got into the paint a lot, and they were able to pass to other open players,” Eberle said. “Because we were really keyed in on two of their guys, (Dylan) Belquist and (Alex) Braken, we had a hard time helping on the other three guys, which led to a lot of open shots for them.”

Los Altos struggled to make shots from anywhere but the foul line. The Eagles shot only 31 percent from the field, but they drained all 18 of their free throws. Point guard Nolan Brennan went 8-for-8 from the stripe and finished with a team-high 17 points. Forward Jake Shab added 10 points and center Simon Heck had eight.

Los Altos’ senior starters scored all 54 of the team’s points.

“I’m really going to miss coaching our six seniors,” Naas said. “They are a great group of kids.”

While Eberle would have liked the Eagles’ season to extend into March, he’s proud of their achievements, which include a third-place finish in the rugged Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division.

“I am extremely happy with the season,” he said. “We accomplished a lot after a slow start to the season, and I had a lot of fun. … We are all really proud of how well we did, and we enjoyed playing together.”

In other CCS action over the weekend:

• St. Francis kept it close but fell to rival Bellarmine for the third time this year. The top-seeded Bells beat the No. 4 Lancers 70-67 in the CCS Open Division semifinals Feb. 27 at Independence. Logan Johnson scored a game-high 38 points for St. Francis (19-7) and held West Catholic Athletic League MVP Jake Wojcik to just five points. The Lancers made the Northern California Division I playoffs as the No. 5 seed and are set to host No. 12 Central (24-7) 7 p.m. today.

• Two days after outlasting top seed St. Francis Salesian College Prep in triple overtime, Pinewood fell to rival Woodside Priory 41-36 in the CCS Division V final at Harker. In the semis, host Pinewood edged St. Francis 74-71 behind 25 points from Cache Fields. Pinewood is the No. 8 seed in the NorCal Division V playoffs and is scheduled to host No. 9 Hayward (11-15) 7 p.m. today.

Girls basketball

No. 8 St. Francis fell 58-38 at fifth seed Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday in the CCS Open Division consolation semifinals. Paige Uyehara scored 15 points for the Lancers (14-12). St. Francis is in the NorCal playoffs as the No. 11 seed in Division I and is slated to visit No. 6 Bear Creek (28-3) 7 p.m. today.

Boys soccer

No. 9 Bellarmine beat third seed St. Francis 1-0 in the CCS Division I final Saturday at Valley Christian. The Lancers (14-5-6) were not invited to the NorCal playoffs.

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