The Cougars will get a chance to defend their tourney championship after a very hard fought win over a scrappy, never say die, well-drilled Menlo-Atherton team coached by former assistant Mike Molieri. The Bears played with great intensity throughout the game, but appeared to wear down a bit in the latter stages of the game.
The Cougars opened up the first half in a 1-2-2 zone defense for the first time this season hoping to clog the dribble penetration attack lanes of the Bears, but the Bears smartly attacked the strategy with flare screens and back screens to free up their shooters. The result was 3 pointers by Lucas Fioretti and the Bears heading into the locker room with a 21-18 halftime lead.
The Cougars, however, did not panic and switched back to their traditional hard nose, great help defense, which stymied the young Bears in the 2nd half. The Bears offense managed only 11 points and only one 3 pointer in the 2nd half and were stuck on 26 total points for a about a 5 minute stretch late in the 3rd quarter through the 4th quarter. The Cougars also exhibited more patience on offense and used their superior size to get some offensive putbacks and more shots in the paint.
Caelin Batstone again came off the bench and provided a huge spark scoring 7 points in the 2nd half and played outstanding defense. The Cougar defense recorded 9 steals for the night and most importantly only had 9 turnovers for the game.
Overall a good win against a very tough opponent and the Cougars improve to 5-0 on the season.
Caelin Batstone and Jake Salinero led the balanced scoring attack with 9 points. Austin Hilton contributed 7 points, Case DuFrane 8 points and Tommy Nuno 4 points to go along with a team high 11 rebounds.
Next up, are the Los Altos Eagles in the championship game @ 8p on Friday night.