Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Spartan Jayme Hughes drives against Los Altos Saturday.
The Mountain View girls basketball team led just once in Saturday’s Central Coast Section Division II quarterfinal game – and that was enough to beat rival Los Altos 42-40.
The fifth-seeded Spartans trailed the No. 4 Eagles for the first 29 minutes but pulled ahead for good on a three-point play by forward Taylor Hall with 2:49 remaining. Hall led the Spartans with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Mountain View shrugged off a slow start – Los Altos led by as many as 12 points in the first half and early in the third quarter – to beat the Eagles for the third time in four tries this season. The Spartans made just nine of their 25 shots in the opening half.
Mountain View (24-4) managed its comeback with limited floor time from sophomore standout Jayme Hughes. After missing the Spartans’ playoff opener – a 46-27 rout of No. 12 Lincoln – with a nagging hamstring injury, Hughes contributed nine points and eight rebounds Saturday.
“These kids do it every time,” coach Judy Auclair said of her team, which shared the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division crown with Los Altos. “We’ve had it where we’ve been down 18 points and we’ve come back and won. That’s been sort of the (modus operandi) of our team.”
For Los Altos (19-7), it was also a tale of two halves. Leading 30-20 at halftime, the Eagles scored just 10 points and committed 13 turnovers the rest of the way. They made one of 14 shots in the fourth.
Senior Ideen Seyed led Los Altos with 15 points and fellow guard Rebecca Andrews, a sophomore, had 14. Only two other Eagles scored.
Coach Kevin Lee said his team simply wore down physically in the second half.
“We had some tired legs out there, but our girls fought hard throughout the whole game,” said Lee, whose team received a higher seed than the Spartans on a coin-flip.
Los Altos initially picked up where it left off in the first half, taking a 36-24 lead midway through the third quarter. Then the game turned.
With 3:34 left, Spartan guard Bailey Polisso drilled a 3-pointer and later hit a second trey from the top of the arc with 32 seconds left in the third as part of an 8-0 run that cut Los Altos’ lead to four.
Still trailing 37-35 in the fourth, the Spartans took the lead when Hall rebounded a 3-point attempt and was fouled while making a layup. Hall sank her lone free throw to complete the three-point play and later padded the Spartans’ newfound lead with a steal and a drive to the basket, sinking a layup with 1:41 left to go up 40-37.
“They picked it up,” Lee said of Mountain View’s second-half resurgence. “I told the girls at halftime that they’re not going to stop playing. They’re going to keep coming at us – and they did.”
Down one point, the Eagles got one last chance after a turnover gave them the ball back with 6.8 seconds left. But Spartan Karen Kauffman stepped in front of Los Altos freshman Katie Munro’s pass and was fouled with 0.9 seconds left. Kauffman hit one of two free throws to help seal the win.
The Spartans were set to face top seed Presentation (11-15) in Tuesday’s semifinals, played after the Town Crier’s press deadline.