It wasn't quite the festivities and fireworks of New Year's Eve, but the Menlo School girls and Palo Alto boys nonetheless closed out 2012 with a bang as both basketball teams captured tournament championships on Saturday night.
In Belmont, Menlo continued its pattern of starting fast and finishing strong while registering a 54-36 victory over host Notre Dame-Belmont in the finals of the Steve Geramoni Invitational.
The Knights (8-3) jumped out to a 16-4 lead in the first quarter and coasted to a third straight victory in the year-ending tournament.
Menlo once again was led by 6-foot-4 senior Drew Edelman, who scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and was named the Most Valuable Player. She finished the three-game tourney with 70 points and 41 rebounds.
Menlo freshman Hannah Paye added eight points and was named to the all-tournament team. Maddy Price and Olivia Pellarin each grabbed seven rebounds and Lauren Lete had five steals.
In Sonoma, senior Mathias Schmutz tallied 19 points and Aldis Petriceks added 17 as Paly won the Windsor Holiday Shootout with a 62-60 win over McKinleyville. Aubrey Dawkins added 12 points after scoring 29 in the semifinals as the Vikings wrapped up 2012 with a 9-1 mark.
Palo Alto clung to a 31-30 halftime lead and held on while winning its seventh straight.
While Menlo and Paly won titles, a handful of other local squads settled for second-place finishes.
In East Palo Alto, Eastside Prep played without starters Hashima Carothers and Kimberly Leu and lack of personnel showed as the Panthers dropped a 44-31 decision to Brea-Olinda in the championship game of the Eastside Prep Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
The Panthers (8-4) lost Carothers, their leading scorer, in Friday's semifinal overtime win over St. Francis. She suffered a possible concussion, according to coach Donovan Blythe. Without the 6-foot Carothers, Eastside Prep turned to 6-3 sophomore Destiny Graham, who tallied eight points with seven rebounds and six blocks. The Panthers, however, needed more and fell behind by 27-12 at the half.
In Watsonville, Melissa Holland tallied 17 points to pace the Sacred Heart Prep girls to a 59-37 victory over Woodland Christian. That earned the Gators second place at the Monte Vista Christian Christmas Tournament. The Gators wrapped up 2012 with a 10-2 record as senior Helen Gannon added 11 points. Both Melissa and her sister, Meghan, were named to the all-tournament team.
Melissa led the team in scoring over the three-game tournament, as well as recording double-digit rebounds in each game. Meghan followed her sister in points, while recording double-digit assists.
In San Diego, the Sacred Heart Prep boys' run of success at the Surf 'N' Slam tournament ended in the championship game of the Surf Division as the Gators were routed by Willow Glen of San Jose, 85-55, at Mission Bay High.
The Rams (10-0) raced to a 50-19 halftime lead and coasted against the Gators (4-6), who placed Ricky Galliani on the all-tournament team. Kevin Donahoe and Tyler VauDell combined for 21 points for SHP while Rj McCune made seven 3-pointers and finished with 38 points to lead Willow Glen.
In San Francisco, the Pinewood girls finished third at the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic with a 58-48 win over St. Patrick/St. Vincent at St. Ignatius. Kendahl Wallis-Lang led the Panthers with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Gabi Bade and Marissa Hing each added 10 points while freshman Chloe Eackles grabbed 11 rebounds. Leeana Bade finished with seven points and seven rebounds to help Pinewood overcome 21 turnovers.
In Fremont, Emma Heath tallied 16 points and Erin LaPorte added 11 but it wasn't enough as the Menlo-Atherton girls dropped a 56-54 decision to Evergreen Valley in the third-place game of the Newark Memorial Tournament. The Bears (4-7) held a 41-35 lead heading into the final period before giving up 21 points.
Palo Alto didn't take a full team and finished 31st out of 68 teams at the annual California Coast Classic at Aptos High.
Gary Hohbach led the Vikings with a sixth place at 160 pounds and Trent Marshall was seventh at 152.
"Gary had two very good days," said Paly coach Dave Duran. "He was unseeded and placed in a tough weight class. We expect to have Gary and a few other darkhorses ready to go by the time we hit February."