Emilee Osagiede scored 17 points and the Palo Alto girls' basketball team defeated host Gunn, 39-33, to capture its first SCVAL De Anza Division title since 2006 on Friday night. The Vikings improved to 10-0 in league (17-4 overall) and clinched the championship with two games remaining after second-place Gunn (8-3, 16-5) fell three games off the pace.
"We will celebrate the victory over Gunn and the league championship all weekend long," said Paly coach Scott Peters. "Then we will get back to getting better and focus on our next game (against visiting Los Gatos on Wednesday at 7 p.m.) for Senior Night."
Gunn jumped out to an early lead with sharp outside shooting and held a seven-point lead after one quarter. Gradually, Palo Alto climbed back into the game until finally taking the lead with under two minutes to play.
Defense again was the key as Paly limited Gunn to just four points in the fourth quarter – just 10 points in the second half -- while the Vikings put up 13 in the finals period and held on.
Osagiede was clutch from the free-throw line, making nine of 10. Fellow junior Shamelia Clay drew praise from Peters for her energy, which helped Paly's pressure defense and on the offensive boards.
In addition to the final home game against Los Gatos, the Vikings will conclude the regular season at Lynbrook next Friday. This is Palo Alto's best league season since the 2006 squad won the league crown with an 11-1 record and finished 25-5, losing to Mitty in the CCS semifinals.
In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division):
Ahjalee Harvey poured in 23 points and Hashima Carothers grabbed 14 rebounds to go with 11 points as Eastside Prep earned a share of the division title with a 63-24 thumping of host Mercy-San Francisco on Friday night.
The Panthes (9-1, 18-6) held the Skippers to single-digit scoring in each quarter, including a low of two points in the final period. Eastside Prep wound up sharing the division crown with Pinewood for the second straight season. The overall league title will be decided in the WBAL playoffs, which finish up next Saturday at Menlo School.
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep jumped out to a solid first quarter and earned a more favorable seeding in the upcoming WBAL playoffs with a 59-51 victory over visiting Menlo School on Friday.
The Gators (2-8, 11-9) moved out of a last-place tie with Castilleja and into fifth place with the Foothill Division triumph. Melissa Holland (16 points) and her sister Megan (14 points) had their best combined effort of the season to spark SHP, which also got 13 points from Helen Gannon.
SHP interim head coach Keith Halcovich got his first victory after taking over from Lamont Quattlebaum, who resigned following a game on Jan. 29.
The Gators raced to a 20-11 first-quarter lead and had to withstand a 25-point fourth quarter by the Knights (5-5, 15-9) for the win. Drew Edelman led Menlo with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
In the PAL Bay Division, Anna Crookston Herschlag had a season-high 25 points but it wasn't enough as Menlo-Atherton dropped a 71-51 decision to visiting Terra Nova to close the regular season on Friday night. The Bears (4-6, 8-16) held a one-point lead after one quarter before being outscored 25-7 in the second as the regular-season champion Tigers (10-0) pulled away.