Gunn coach Brandynn Williams wants his team to play fast.
The Titans certainly tried to do so Friday, but found themselves in a bad matchup for that style against a more athletic Piedmont Hills team in the championship game of the Prospect Tournament.
The result was somewhat predictable -- Piedmont Hills winning with ease, 59-36. Gunn could have played a more deliberate style, reduced the number of possessions and scoring opportunities for the Pirates, and kept the score closer. But that’s not how Williams wants to play. He is hoping the lessons learned pay off later in the season.
And Friday’s result aside, he is pleased with the improvement his team has shown. After losing several key players off last season’s 15-12 team -- players such as Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich, now on the track team at Princeton, and DeMario Shepard, redshirting at De Anza -- the Titans got off to a 0-4 start this season. But then they won three in a row, including the first two games they played in the tournament, to Del Mar and Sobrato, before running up against a physically superior Piedmont Hills team.
“We lost a lot of guys,’’ Williams said. “But for me as a coach it’s all about building a culture and every year being competitive. We’re 3-1 this week and tomorrow we play Los Altos so we can still finish off this week strong.’’
Piedmont Hills (5-1), which only has an overtime loss to Sequoia maring its record, jumped out to a big lead and was up 37-16 at halftime. At one point in the first half Gunn turned the ball over on eight consecutive possessions.
It was 51-26 after three quarters. Gunn showed some fight in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Pirates 10-8.
“In the last quarter we started playing tougher defense,’’ Williams said. “If we had done that from the start, I’m not saying the outcome would have been different, but it would have been a more competitive game.’’
Evan Dray led Gunn with 11 points. Eli Russo had 10.
“They really play hard and they’re really well coached,’’ Piedmont Hills coach Pete Simos said of Gunn. “That guy is the most positive and uplifting coach. You can tell his kids love him. We need more people like him. They will make some noise in the El Camino Division.’’
Jaquez Walker scored 20 for Piedmont Hills. Dermarri Floyd had 17.
In a nonleague boys game, host Sacred Heart Prep fell to Mountain View, 64-59, on Friday night.
SHP's Eric DeBrine scored 20 points to lead all scorers. Yianni Garner added 13 for the Gators (2-5), who play at Menlo-Atherton on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The Bears (1-4) are playing Leland on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the consolation game of the Bellarmine Tournament.
In a nonleague girls basketball game, host Sacred Heart Prep downed Mountain View, 62-23. The Gators (6-1) play at Menlo-Atherton on Thursday at 6 p.m.