Boys’ basketball edges out Gunn, but faces tough tests in De Anza

January 27, 2023 — by George Huang and Zack Zhang
Photo by Natalie Chua
Senior point guard Nick Tjaden shoots a floater in the game against Palo Alto on Jan. 20.
Saratoga Falcons victory against Gunn is followed with a series of defeats and their most important game is coming up.

The air was electric with four minutes left on the scoreboard in the Falcons’ home game against the Gunn Titans on Jan. 13. The Falcons were down 52-50. Attempting to score, senior point guard Nick Tjaden hovered at the 3-point line but couldn’t find an opening. Suddenly, senior shooting guard Julian Berkowitz-Sklar appeared next to him. Receiving a swift pass from Tjaden, Berkowitz-Sklar rose in one fluid motion and swished a 3-pointer.

Later, after being fouled, Berkowitz-Sklar made two free throws, and the crowd erupted with excitement. It was an unlikely comeback. The Falcons ended with a 55-52 victory, all achieved in the furious last minutes. 

 The victory against the Titans was impressive due to Gunn’s front line, with some as tall as 6-10; Tjaden credited the win to “good teamwork and resilience.” 

In the next three games, the Falcons fell on hard times, losing three games straight to garner a conference record of 2-4: 56-39 against a tough Los Gatos team on Jan. 18, 50-44 at home vs. Palo Alto on Jan. 20 and 70-61 at Los Altos on Jan. 23. (Due to printing deadlines, The Falcon cannot cover more recent games in its print issue.)

Senior captain Mateusz Palusinski is helping lead the Falcons along with guards Berkowitz-Sklar and Tjaden. But coach Mike Davey has put the emphasis on the team effort in a league in which they are consistently undersized. “We must trust everybody to compete when we are the smallest school in our league by far,” he said. “We have a small margin of error and everybody needs to play well for us to win.”

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