Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Brian Kaestner makes a layup Friday. He scored 13 points.
In what could be deemed a measuring-stick game for the Mountain View High boys basketball team, the Spartans came up woefully short against powerhouse Palo Alto Friday night.
The visiting Vikings prevailed 60-45, taking the lead for good late in the first quarter and pulling away in the third.
The loss dropped Mountain View to 1-1 in Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division and 7-6 overall; Paly improved to 2-0 in league and 11-1 overall.
The Spartans last season shared the league crown with the Vikings, but Mountain View lost several key players from that team to graduation.
“There’s a lot of stuff we have to figure out first before we get good, because there are a lot of guys who haven’t played varsity before – this is their first year,” said center Brian Kaestner, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter with a team-high 13 points Friday. “But once we get used to everything, we should do pretty well.”
The Spartans started strong Friday, taking a 12-8 lead on guard Nick Wang’s 3-point play (baseline drive and free throw). But Paly scored the next 10 points – a run that started and ended with 3-pointers by guard Scott Peery– to close the quarter.
After trailing by as many as 10 points in the second period, Mountain View cut the deficit to 32-29 by halftime. The Spartans outscored the Vikings 7-2 in the final 1:18, starting with a pair of Kaestner free throws. Wang, who totaled 11 points, drilled a 3 from the top of the key and guard Sammy Khidir cut to the hoop to score a layin off a pass from Kaestner just before the buzzer.
That’s as good as it would get for Mountain View. The Spartans struggled to make shots the rest of the way and Paly made them pay for it. The Vikings outscored Mountain View 13-6 in the third to lead 45-35 at the end of it.
“We were off tonight,” said Kaestner, whose team shot just 34.8 percent from the field. “We had open shots – the offense was working and all – but none of them were falling. You’re going to have those kind of nights.”
Kaestner scored the Spartans’ first seven points of the fourth – on drives and free throws – but Paly forward Aubrey Dawkins answered twice to keep the Vikings comfortably ahead. Dawkins and Peery finished with 15 points each to pace Paly.
Despite the loss, Kaestner said Mountain View is getting better. The Spartans opened league with a 47-36 win at Los Gatos Jan. 3 and finished third in the St. Francis High Holiday Tournament the previous week.
“We’re improved since the beginning of the year – people are getting better,” the senior said. “We’ll just continue to improve and look forward to playing (Paly) the next time.”