Boys’ basketball: Falcons pull off OT win vs. Branham

December 10, 2017 — by Leo Cao and Patrick Li

For the first time in coach Patrick Judge’s 17-year coaching career, he has two freshmen on his team.

Adding shooting guards Tyler Chu and Cameron King to the roster was risky, considering how little experience these two players have playing at the high-school level. The two don’t start but they are expected to play key roles off the bench.

In recent games, the Falcons beat Santa Teresa 66-61 on Dec. 6, but fell to San Mateo 59-49 on Dec. 7.

On Dec. 1, the Falcons beat Silver Creek 61-48 at home. They held a 20-point lead throughout the game, dominating their opponents with fluid ball movement that created many opportunities to score. Junior shooting guard Kyle Yu gave their team a boost early on by scoring three 3-point shots in the second quarter, and finishing with 22 points in the game.

“Everyone got a chance to play in that game, which was really good,”  senior center Neal Iyengar said. “I think the season has a really good start so far and hopefully the momentum carries throughout the rest of the year.”

In the first game of the year, the Falcons had a miraculous comeback at home to beat Branham 70-64 in overtime. After a slow start in the first half, the Falcons found themselves down by nine with only a couple of minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, the team came back to tie knot the score at 62 before winning in the extra period. Small forward Harrison Fong led the way with eight points in overtime.

“We went on a huge run, and took the game to overtime,” Iyengar said. “This win definitely felt great and it boosted our team’s overall confidence.”

The Falcons are set to play Los Gatos on Dec. 15 at home. During a successful season last year, the Falcons lost the Division III CCS championships to Monterey by 72-56. This year, they have set the same goal of winning CCS.

To reach that goal, the team will be focusing more on improving their defense to supplement their strong offense.

“Everyone on our team has the ability to get to the basket whenever they want and knock down shots from almost anywhere,” Iyengar said. “Defensively, we are in the mindset that the other team should not be scoring on us.”

Part of the reason for the Falcon’s early success is due to the strong energy from the bench.

Sixth man Alex Metz  is one of the smaller player at 5’10, but his hustle and grit motivate his teammates.

“Every single time he comes onto the floor you already know he is going to dive for every ball,” senior shooting guard Michael Xue said. “He gets a lot of steals, and makes everyone around him play at a higher level.”

Freshmen Chu and King also come off the bench, and both are strong 3-point shooters. Although young, these two are getting valuable experience playing at the highest level.

“Personally I think having two freshmen makes practices more fun because they are pretty laid-back and provide that loosened up nature to practice,” Xue said.

Regarding areas of improvement, one drastic change the team has to make this year is decreasing isolation plays, where an offensive player has chance to beat a defender one on one.

“This year, since we are not as dependent on certain guys we are moving the ball more on offense,” Xue said. “We play really well when we do that, but when we resort to isolation plays, that's when our offense slows down and we aren't able to get great shots.”


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