The Los Gatos High boys and girls basketball teams completed 2022 with wins in their respective tournaments. Now it’s on to league play.
The boys team earned an impressive 66-54 win over Mountain View in the third-place game of the Aptos/Santa Cruz Warriors Invitational on Dec. 29. All-tournament selection Max Houghton scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and Scotty Brennan and Ronan Chinmulgund had 15 each in the comeback victory.
Los Gatos (8-4), which begins Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division play at Gunn High (9-1) on Jan. 4, trailed Mountain View 34-28 at halftime before a dominant second half, outscoring the Spartans 21-12 in the third and 17-8 in the fourth to win going away.
Houghton and Chinmulgund combined for six 3-pointers, while Brennan and Nolan Koch had seven rebounds each. Koch, a 6-foot-4 junior post, had a tremendous tournament, scoring a team-high 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds in a 61-51 win over Soquel in the opening round.
The Wildcats built a 10-point lead at halftime on the strength of a 23-10 second quarter. Coach Nick Ward was able to unload his bench in the game, as 13 players got in with nine scoring. Brennan had 11 in the victory. Koch led the way in the next game, a 51-44 loss to a strong St. Mary’s of Stockton team.
Houghton had 12 in a game that was tied 21-21 at halftime. However, St. Mary’s (11-3) pulled away in the second half in a contest that was played at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz.
After a painful opening-round loss to Christopher High, Los Gatos finished strong in the John Araujo Memorial Holiday Tournament at Del Mar High.
Behind an absolutely spectacular performance from Nicole Steiner, the Wildcats (7-3) beat Leland 51-42 in the consolation championship game on Dec. 30. Steiner, a 6-foot sophomore post, scored a career-high 38 points on an ultra-efficient 18-of-23 shooting and had 23 rebounds, including 11 offensive.
Steiner also had 26 points and 10 rebounds in a 57-31 win over Westmont which vaulted Los Gatos into the consolation title contest. Claire Galbo had 11 as the Wildcats roared out to a 22-2 lead after the first quarter. In three games, Steiner totaled 75 points and 44 rebounds to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.
The Wildcats trailed Leland by five points at halftime before going on an 18-2 third-quarter blitz to win going away. The strong finish was a complete reversal from the Christopher game, which saw the Wildcats lose 39-36 despite entering the fourth quarter with a 33-23 lead.
Los Gatos begins SCVAL De Anza Division play at home against Homestead Tuesday night.