The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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Varsity girls basketball conquers King’s Academy in fourth quarter resurgence during CCS quarterfinals

Co-captain Emily Mitnick (11) looks for the pass out of a double team. Emily made several shots to contribute to the Eagles’ comeback. (Katerina Matta)

The girls varsity basketball team advanced to CCS semifinals in a comeback 53-38 win vs. King’s Academy at home on Feb. 20.

Before the match, athletic director Dan Molin introduced players from both teams. To begin the game, a tip-off violation against the Kings led to Harker gaining possession of the ball, and Harker built an 8-0 lead, forcing a King’s timeout. Despite several strong plays from the Eagles, including successful 3-pointers from co-captain guards Isabella Lo (11) and Claire Miao (12), the Kings turned the tide, mounting a 9-0 run to earn an 18-15 advantage in the second quarter. Although plays like co-captain Emily Mitnick’s (11) layup regained momentum for the Eagles, they ended the first half down 21-27.

Head coach Daniza Rodriguez highlighted the Eagles’ strategic adjustments after a slow second quarter, increasing their aggression and executing faster-paced plays.

“Getting back to our style of play, we knew in the second quarter that we started to fade away from how we started,” Rodriguez said. “So we needed to make adjustments to get back, which is our full court, running the lanes, putting the pressure on them and really getting into our opponent’s base.”

Isabella Lo (11) shoots a two-pointer over a King’s Academy defender. Isabella scored eight consecutive points in the fourth quarter, helping the Eagles pull ahead the Kings. (Kevin Zhang)

The Kings continued to pressure Harker throughout the third quarter, landing multiple 3-pointers until Harker called a timeout down 25-37. The Eagles responded strongly with a layup from Isabella but still trailed 27-37 at the end of the third quarter. 

Harker found its footing in the final quarter. Early layups from Claire, 3-pointers from Isabella and free throws from Emily contributed to the Eagles’ opening 14-0 run, earning them the 41-37 lead. The Kings briefly broke the Eagles’ streak with a free throw, but Claire drained a 3-pointer from the corner to force another Kings timeout. After an attempt by the Kings to slow the Eagles with a full-court press defense, the Eagles responded with various shots from Claire, Isabella and Emily, completing the 26-1 comeback with a final score of 53-38. 

Spectator Daniel Lin (12) applauded the Eagles’ fourth-quarter effort after a slow start. 

“Their entire team was super clutch,” Daniel said. “Everyone played through the pressure, and I was really impressed. Especially in the fourth quarter, when they were down by 10, they were still able to play the best that I’ve ever seen.” 

Claire also highlighted the Eagles’ momentum shift in the fourth quarter, noting the stakes of CCS as her final games as a Harker athlete.

Claire Yu (10) high fives her teammates during player introductions. Athletic Director Dan Molin introduced players from both teams before the game began. (Kevin Zhang)

“At half time, I was really sad because I was just thinking about, ‘What if my season could be over?’” Claire said. “I’m gonna be honest, I lost a lot of hope, but Coach made a lot of adjustments at halftime, which I thought were really good. In the fourth quarter, it was just really exciting. We were just shouting on the court, we heard the crowd and it was just really emotional.”

The win advanced the Eagles to the semifinals of the CCS Division IV bracket. They ended their CCS run in a 55-65 loss against Half Moon Bay on Thursday at home. 

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About the Contributors
Katerina Matta
Katerina Matta, Co-Sports Editor
Katerina Matta (11) is the co-sports editor for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is her third year on staff. This year, Katerina aims to expand sports features and diversify game coverage. In her free time, she enjoys playing beach volleyball and reading.
Kevin Zhang
Kevin Zhang, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Kevin Zhang (12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is his third year on staff. This year, Kevin hopes to expand the scope of sports content and collaborate with more staff members in journalism. In his free time, Kevin enjoys playing basketball, pursuing photography and drawing in pencil (he finds shading particularly satisfying).

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