Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High post player Brian Kaestner, with ball at right, scored a game-high 20 points Saturday. Los Altos High’s Joey Malgesini, leaping at left, led his team with 14 points.
On a night when both boys basketball teams clanked shot after shot from the perimeter, Brian Kaestner dominated down low to lead Mountain View High to a 45-34 road victory over rival Los Altos.
The senior center scored a game-high 20 points in Saturday’s non-league contest, played in front of a large and boisterous crowd. Despite drawing double teams nearly every time he touched the ball, no player on the court could match the 6-foot-5 Kaestner’s offensive efficiency. He made eight of his 12 shots from the field and went 4-for-6 from the foul line.
“I had a good feel for it tonight,” Kaestner said. “I was trying to take it up as much as possible to try to get easy baskets.”
Mountain View (12-8 overall) found it difficult to make shots outside the paint – especially from beyond the arc. The Spartans connected on just two of their 17 attempts from 3-point range (11.8 percent).
“I think because it was a rivalry game, our guys were a little nervous, and that brings the percentage down a little bit,” Mountain View coach Jim Forthoffer said. “Our shooting was not good.”
The Spartans went 0 for 10 on treys in the opening half but still held a 17-11 advantage, in part due to the Eagles’ shooting struggles. After playing Mountain View even in the first quarter (8-8), Los Altos scored just once in the second – on forward Joey Malgesini’s 3-pointer from the left baseline midway through the quarter. The junior finished with a team-high 14 points and was one of only three Eagles to score in the game.
Mountain View opened the second half with a 6-0 spurt – the last two points coming on guard Nick Wang’s pull-up jumper from just inside the arc – to take its biggest lead at 23-11. Wang totaled 13 points, making him the only Spartan other than Kaestner to score in double figures.
“Our advantage was Nick and Brian,” Forthoffer said. “They played really well for us.”
Los Altos, which entered the contest on a nine-game winning streak, showed signs of life in the fourth. The Eagles scored the first six points, all of them courtesy of Daniel Rosenbaum. The sophomore made two shots in the paint and a pair of free throws on his way to a 12-point night, cutting Los Altos’ deficit to 30-26 with 6:33 to play.
Mountain View didn’t allow the Eagles to get any closer. After a stretch of more than 3 minutes without a change in score, guard Karl Wilson sank two foul shots to give the Spartans a 32-26 lead.
Mountain View answered every Los Altos basket the rest of the way. Kaestner scored seven points in the quarter, highlighted by a drive that began with a pump fake at the top of the key. Wang drained a straight-away trey and two free throws in the quarter, which ended with the Spartans scoring six straight.
“With a few minutes left, it’s a four-point game – that’s where we wanted it – and unfortunately they had the last run instead of us,” Eagles coach Bob McFarlane said. “It’s always tough to lose to Mountain View, and my guys are down about it, but they can hold their heads high. They battled one of the better teams in the upper division and probably one of the better teams in CCS.”
Mountain View last met Los Altos Dec. 1, routing its rival 72-49 in the Cupertino Shootout.
“They’ve gotten a lot better,” Kaestner said of the Eagles. “We knew they had improved, so we worked hard in practice this week because we knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.”
Both teams return to league play this week. Los Altos – which leads the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division (9-0) – is scheduled to host Wilcox 7:45 p.m. Friday. Mountain View, third in the more challenging SCVAL De Anza Division at 5-3, is slated to entertain Homestead at the same time.