Skyline wins nail-biter at home

After missing the home opener against Alameda, Nate Gartrell out- hustled the Gavilan defense in route to Skyline’s first win at home. (William Nacouzi)

After missing the home opener against Alameda, Nate Gartrell out- hustled the Gavilan defense in route to Skyline’s first win at home. (William Nacouzi)

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The Trojans mens basketball team’s second attempt to notch a win at home took place Wednesday, Nov. 23, against Gilroy’s Gavilan College Rams.

It was the Rams’ second game since the loss of fallen teammate Andrel Gaines, who passed away two weeks ago from injuries sustained in a drunken driving accident earlier this month. Many Gavilan students made the trip to San Bruno to support the Rams in their road battle, outnumbering Skyline’s supporters on their home floor. A moment of silence was held for Gaines prior to tip-off.

Freshman Nate Gartrell didn’t suit up for Skyline’s home opener against Alameda on Friday, Nov. 11, but he looked poised for a big game on Wednesday, appearing to out-hustle everyone on the court during the pre-game warm up.

The Trojans’ energy led to quick numbers as they structured their offense around Kyle Wong’s quickness. Gavilan’s defense couldn’t match Skyline’s energy as they slowly found themselves trailing the Trojans by 17 points.

Gavilan eventually found a rhythm to their offense and chipped away at the lead. The Rams went into the half trailing by only 10 points.

Gavilan’s momentum carried over into the second half as they took advantage of their size in the post. Skyline’s recurring rebounding issues became a factor, eventually allowing the Rams to pull within five points of the Trojans late in the game.

The Rams focused on containing sophomore forward Anthony Smith, who struggled putting the ball in the basket. He finished with four points. It was Smith’s presence that helped Skyline tread through the scoring drought. His energy on defense stopped Gavilan at a crucial point in the game. The Trojans claimed their first home victory of the season with a 56-53 victory.

When asked about the Gavilan’s fans who were able to make it out to San Bruno in support of their team and of Andrel Gaines, Skyline coach Justin Piergrossi noted, “The scoreboard always says there’s a winner and loser, but there really wasn’t a loser out here today.” He added, “For those kids to come out and get back on the court with their teammates and play as hard and as well as they did was good to see.”

“We started the game strong but got comfortable,” said Trojan guard Kenneth Woodward after the game. “We got to keep working hard, keep progressing. We’re getting better every game, and to get better, we have to go harder than the one (game) before.”

Gartrell addressed Skyline’s shooting slump in the second half: “We know that we’re good players, and we know we’re going to miss some shots, but we got to take them.” Gartrell added, “You need to be confident. Just keep shooting. Eventually good things will happen.”

Skyline is now 1-1 at home and hosted Napa Valley College on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

To see a slideshow of the game, click here

To watch interviews with the coach and players, click here.