Stunner! Gunn boys pull off the overtime upset at rival Palo Alto

PALO ALTO  —  Advaith Krishnan hurled himself into a mass of Gunn and Palo Alto bodies with one goal.

 Grab the rebound if his teammate missed, and then make the shot by any means necessary. 

The Gunn guard watched as his teammate air-balled a jumper, a shot that fell right into Krishnan’s lap. He quickly sprung up for the put-back, avoiding a shot-blocker in the process and popping the ball in, with two seconds remaining.

 Krishnan’s only basket of the entire game gave Gunn the 65-63 overtime victory at rival Palo Alto after the Vikings’ desperation halfcourt heave went wide. It snapped Paly’s three-game winning streak over Gunn, and was only the Titans’ fourth victory over the Vikings in their last 34 meetings. 

 “It feels amazing bro,” Krishnan said. “I was just in a dream-world when people were bumping into me, and congratulating me.”

PALO ALTO – Gunn wing Advaith Krishnan (33) battles with Palo Alto guard Jorell Clark (12) for a rebound. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 

 Palo Alto had a shot at taking the lead at the free throw line with around 30 seconds left in overtime, but neither attempt went in. 

“Hats off to Gunn, and I told our guys that.” Palo Alto coach Jeff LaMere said. “Gunn won that game, they played great and diced us up.”

 Ethan Kitch was the one doing most of that slicing and dicing in regulation. The Gunn senior scored a game-high 32 points on a variety of lefty drives, tough jumpers and crafty finishes through traffic.

 “We started out with energy, and we believed we could win,” Kitch said. “We played the basketball we know we can play, and we didn’t play scared.”

PALO ALTO – Gunn senior Ethan Kitch makes a basket. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 

 Kitch did majority of the heavy lifting, but he was not alone. James Ford scored 12, Nate Kirner had eight and Charlie Gibbons put in seven points for Gunn.

 Gunn’s section was packed out, most students wearing brightly-colored jerseys from different pro teams. Standing in stark comparison was Paly’s supporter group, which dressed in all-white.

 Both cheered at ear-splitting levels until the final buzzer.

 “To win with that many people there, we don’t get to do that very often,” Kitch said.

PALO ALTO – The Palo Alto student section celebrates a made basket in the fourth quarter. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 

 Gunn led 52-45 after three quarters, but the Vikings kept the game close any time their rivals appeared poised to pull away.

 Jorell Clark scored 22 and Gavin Haase had 18 points to lead Palo Alto. The two took over once Kitch fouled out with two minutes remaining, and Clark tied the game with 22 seconds remaining in regulation on a drive.

 That finish blew the roof off Paly’s already rowdy student section while Kitch fumed on the bench. The game went into overtime tied at 61.

“That’s the dumbest play I’ve ever made,” Kitch said about picking up his final foul. “I trust my teammates to win the game, but I’d blame myself if we lose. I was beating myself up on the bench.”

 Aiden Hangebrauck started overtime by making two Palo Alto free throws. Gunn forward Ford answered with a layup of his own to tie it with 50 seconds remaining, and his teammates did the rest to pull off the stunner.

PALO ALTO – Gunn coach Brandynn Williams coaches his team in the third quarter. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 

 Leading the team in locker room celebrations was coach Brandynn Williams, a Palo Alto alum (class of 1999) who has now been on both sides of a Gunn upset.

 “The kids just believed,” Williams said. “We’ve been fighting all season, and our record doesn’t correlate with how good we’ve been. These guys didn’t quit, and I’m proud of them.”

Gunn improved to 11-10 and 2-7 in Santa Clara Valley De Anza Division play, while Palo Alto dropped to 16-6, 7-3.

 Many of Gunn’s players lingered on the court long after the final buzzer had sounded and many fans had started their trips home, wanting to savor the result as long as they could.

 “We’re hella excited,” Krishnan said. “We’re going to work our butts off the rest of the season, and it’s going to pay off.”

PALO ALTO – Gunn guard Keiondre Warfield smiles during the third quarter. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 
PALO ALTO – Gunn guard Ethan Kitch drives the ball. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 
PALO ALTO – Palo Alto coach Jeff Lemere gives instructions during a timeout. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 
PALO ALTO – Two Gunn students celebrate a made basket. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 
PALO ALTO – Gunn’s student section is incredulous after a foul call. Gunn played Palo Alto in a high school basketball game on Feb. 3, 2024 at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 

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