The Carlmont and Jefferson boys’ basketball teams are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Carlmont came into the final non-league game of the preseason with a 10-1 record, while Jefferson was saddled with a 2-9 mark. But for a half, it appeared those records were reversed. Jefferson played extremely well in taking a 20-19 lead at halftime.
In the second half, however, the real Carlmont showed up. The Scots outscored the Indians 40-22 over the final 16 minutes to post a 59-42 win in Belmont Friday evening.
"Jefferson played very well,” said Carlmont coach Dave Low. "The first three, four minutes of the first quarter, we didn’t have that same fire (that led us to a 10-1 mark).”
Carlmont (11-1 overall) spent the first half settling for long-range jumpers and the smaller Indians did a good job of limiting the Scots to just one shot as Jefferson (2-10) consistently gobbled up rebounds. Jefferson out-rebounded the Scots 17-10 in the first half.
The Scots were a lot more aggressive on offense in the second half, constantly driving to the basket for layups. The Scots connected on 14 of 24 attempts in the second half and In the fourth quarter, Carlmont was on fire, connecting on 8 of 12 shots.
And that rebounding advantage Jefferson enjoyed in the first half? Well, that turned around in a hurry as the Scots grabbed 15 rebounds in the second half to just six for the Indians.
"Teams that are physically bigger us than us tend to wear us down,” said Jefferson coach Nick Paras. "I thought [the Scots] stepped up their game as well and started hitting their shots.”
Carlmont’s leading scorer, Yash Malik, was held in relative check by Jefferson, as the Indians held him to just 13 points. It was Michael Costello who picked up the slack, scoring a game-high 21. He scored 16 in the second half and had 14 of those in the fourth quarter.
After making a bad pass seconds into the third quarter, Low sat Costello. There was nothing to be said to Costello, Low said, but he was a different player when he returned to the game.
"I don’t think he came out in the first half and played the way he can play,” Low said, as Costello had five points in the first two quarters. "When he got back in (after the quick hook), he was able to regroup and play the way he’s capable of playing.”
Costello showed the ability that can make him a tough player to guard. He hit back-to-back driving layups to open the fourth quarter, pushing Carlmont’s lead to 10, 41-31. He later drained a pair of 3-pointers and also got out in front on the fast break for an easy layup.
In the first half, however, the Scots looked nothing like the team that had lost only once during the preseason and went 3-0 at the Slam Tournament in San Diego. After scoring the first basket of the game on a Malik bucket off dribble penetration, the Scots watched as Jefferson ran off the next nine points to lead 9-2 with 2:06 left in the first quarter. Carlmont responded by going on a 8-0 run to end the quarter up 10-9.
Jefferson, however, continued its strong play in the second quarter. A 3-pointer from Romier Marag gave the Indians a 14-13 lead and a bucket by Troy Sanchez put Jefferson up 20-19 at halftime.
Carlmont, however, started the third quarter with a 7-0 run to take the lead for good, 26-20. Jefferson did not go down without a fight and the Indians trailed by just six points, 37-37, when Rensie Balla knocked a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left in the third quarter.
That would be as close as the Indians would get. The Scots opened the final period with a 6-0 run to push their lead to 43-31 and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Despite the loss, Paras was encouraged by the fact his undersized team hung with the Scots, who are poised to make a run at the Peninsula Athletic League South Division title.
"Those guys (Carlmont) are 11-1 and are probably going to be in the running for the South title,” Paras said. "For us to be able to play three quarters with them, to be down only seven (after three quarters), is an accomplishment for our guys.
"We know El Camino and Westmoor and Half Moon Bay are the three top teams (in the PAL North). But you never know about that fourth spot.”