Boys basketball loses to Los Altos

Varsity boys basketball lost to Los Altos 72-77 in a home league game Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Winning the tip-off, the Conquerors looked for a fast-break play. The Mustangs were able to secure the defensive rebound, allowing them to score an early three-pointer. However, the Conquerors responded with a steal, breaking Walnut’s man-to-man defense to close the gap 3-2. Throughout the second quarter, the Mustangs tried to establish a lead with multiple jump shots. The half ended 30-34 in the Conqueror’s favor.

“I think we performed really well,” shooting guard senior Michael Hoffmeier said. “We stayed together; no matter what, we were both persistent and consistent. We always found a way to get back in the game.”

Walnut continued to contest Los Altos’s layups by playing man-to-man defense, and the third quarter ended 39-44. During the fourth quarter, Walnut took advantage of Los Altos’s fouls, which helped Walnut close the gap. Point guard senior Noah Leal shot a three-pointer and was fouled, resulting in a four-point play after he made his free throw. Los Altos responded by driving into the key, but Leal was able to block the jump shot. The second half ended 56-56 and went into overtime.

“I think what our team did best was play as a team,” Hoffmeier said. “We always helped each other when we were down, and when there was a mistake everyone talked to them and encouraged them.”

In overtime, Walnut won the tip-off, but Los Altos made two free-throws after being fouled by Walnut. Los Altos were able to gain an early lead, with Walnut trailing by three points. However, with a buzzer beating three-pointer made by center junior Isa Al Juraishi, Walnut was able to send the game into a second overtime. Walnut scored an early jump shot, but Los Altos closed the gap with a floater. By scoring layups and free throws, Los Altos had a lead. Walnut was able to score four points, shooting jump shots and free throws. The game ended 72-77, bringing Walnut’s league record to 5-2.

“When we’re facing people that score a lot or have a big impact on our team, I think we need more people to step up,” Hoffmeier said. “Other than that, I feel like everyone [on our team] is doing their job, and that makes our team good.”

By Andrew Kim, Staff writer
Photo by Tristan Gonzalez