On Tuesday night, the Bears narrowly defeated the Palo Alto Vikings with a final score of 46-45, increasing the Bears’ record to 5-0.
In the first quarter, the Vikings had possession of the ball right from the start. However, layups from seniors Jalen Williams, Ben Eisner, and Grant Zell kept the Bears close behind the Vikings. Three-pointers from Paly and numerous fouls kept the Bears three points behind the Vikings for most of the first quarter. Despite a highlight block from junior Jack Anderson, the Vikings ended the quarter in the lead, 13-10.
The second quarter started with a layup by junior point guard Jonah Missan. The Bears were noticeably hustling, as players were on the ground fighting for possession of the ball and sprinting around the court. Using his height as an advantage, senior center Allen Chang led the defense. Despite the defensive efforts, the Bears were trailing 20-24 at halftime.
The third quarter saw unforced errors with M-A racking up 14 fouls, resulting in the Palo Alto lead extending to 32-26. The quarter ended with the Vikings on top with 36-30. Senior power forward Mecca Okereke explained the third quarter woes saying, “We were not getting back on defense and were missing layups. We were not playing like how we always play.” The Bears did not make a three pointer the entire game.
The Bears once again started off slow in the fourth quarter, falling behind 38-31 in the early minutes. However, the final minutes of the game saw an increase in intensity and the two teams were neck and neck. Strong offense by Okereke, Eisner, and Chang contributed to M-A scoring 16 points in the quarter, a notable increase compared to only 10 points each past quarter. Paly undoubtedly felt increasing pressure from M-A’s solid defense.
The spectators eagerly watched the game as the clock counted down the final 60 seconds. Shots by Eisner and Chang cut Paly’s lead to just one point . With 10 seconds left in the game, Williams made a miraculous layup which put the Bears up by one point with three seconds left. A Paly timeout gave them one more chance to win the game, but they were not able to convert one the buzzer-beater, solidifying a 46-45 win for M-A.
Zell later said that the Bears’ hardwork and determination led to the win, stating, “Our coach pushes us everyday in practice and we just don’t give up.”
The win was a true team effort, Eisner was the leading scorer with 9 points, followed by Okereke and Williams who contributed 8 points each. Missan said he would shout out, “Ben Eisner for making a couple key stops towards the end of the game and Jalen for the game-winning layup.”
When asked about what he thought about the team’s resilience, Missan said, “We came out with low energy, but we had a lot more energy in the fourth quarter and came back from a six point deficit. We were able to pull out the win even though it was not our best game.”
Okereke reiterated, “the game went well but I think we could have done way better, because we didn’t give our full effort out there.”
Missan also looked ahead to future games stating, “Right at the gate of the game, we have to come with a bunch of energy and bring up the intensity. We can’t play down to the other team’s level. We have to play our game. I’m looking forward to a good season, getting a lot of wins, and a good playoff run.
There are high hopes and expectations to keep the undefeated record this season. Zell said, “We’re going this whole year without losing.”
The Bears will play against Lowell at home on Saturday, December 17.