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December 16, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, December 16, 2005

Full-court press pays off for Spartans Full-court press pays off for Spartans (December 16, 2005)

Mountain View boys basketball starts off strong against rival Los Altos

By Erik Koland

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Mountain View showed visiting Los Altos the truth of these words as the Spartans harassed, pressured and swarmed the Eagles to close out a 73-68 victory in front of a piercing home crowd Dec. 10.

"The defensive pressure turned the game," said Mountain View coach Bob Heckmann. "Defense told the story tonight."

Trading buckets throughout the first half, the Spartans (5-4) unleashed a tenacious, full-court press that capitalized off of double-digit forced turnovers to go on a back-breaking 17-3 run in the third and fourth quarters.

"At half time we really came together as a team and decided that we were going to win with our D," said Mountain View senior guard Terence Willis.

Willis, along with fellow senior guard Kevin Metsers, led the Spartans' furious full-court press and relentlessly pushed the fast break. Taking advantage of trailing Eagle defenders, Willis slashed and weaved through the paint to lead the Spartans with 21 points, while Metsers put in 18 points from outside.

"Our game is all about team basketball," said junior forward Jesse Griffin. Griffin led the Spartans with nine rebounds and added 11 points. "Team ball brings out the intensity in our team."

While Mountain View dominated on the fast break, the Eagles, led by 6-foot-4 junior center Brett Perrotta, used their size advantage and showed their might at half court.

Perrotta was the clear bright spot for Los Altos (2-4), pounding his way to 21 points and 13 rebounds, many coming under double- and triple-team pressure.

But the Eagles frequently had trouble advancing the ball into the front court. Perrotta, in foul trouble for much of the game, failed to get enough touches to carry his team.

"We didn't want to let them just get it in to the big man," said Heckmann. "Full-court pressure is something we work on a lot."

"He [Perrotta] was giving them all sorts of problems," said first-year Los Altos coach James Reilly. "Unfortunately, he picked up his third and fourth fouls in the third quarter and fouled out with about four minutes left in fourth. He scored 21 points in about two and a half quarters."

Perrotta wasn't alone: Many Eagle players were in foul trouble as Mountain View consistently attacked the basket to get to the foul line. The Spartans earned a whopping 40 free throws during the 32-minute game.

"We had trouble with their quickness," said Reilly. "Any time you give up 40 free throws, you're going to have a hard time winning."

This weekend's Fremont Tournament will provide both teams with an opportunity to tune up their game before the holiday break.

"We will be focusing on taking care of the ball and rebounding the ball," said Reilly. "We gave up too many extra possessions."
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