Eastside Prep girls reach semis, Pinewood suffers first loss

The Eastside Prep girls are still in position to win a tournament title in basketball, but that opportunity escaped Pinewood on Saturday as the Panthers fell in the finals of the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic at St. Ignatius High.

Pinewood was unbeaten in 10 games heading into the title match after defeating Redwood (52-45) and Lowell of San Francisco (52-21) in the first two rounds. The Panthers, however, ran up against a tough St. Ignatius team (8-0) and dropped a 59-48 decision on Saturday night.

Senior Leanna Bade had 16 points for Pinewood while her sister, junior Gabi, added 12. Junior Marissa Hing finished with 10. The Panthers shot only 29 percent from the field, which included a 7-for-34 effort (21 percent) from 3-point range.

The other Panthers of Eastside Prep, meanwhile, improved to 8-2 following a 34-23 win over Edison in the quarterfinals of the 16-team Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in East Palo Alto.

Alexus Simon led the Panthers with 12 points with Brje Byers adding nine. Simon is averaging 14.4 points a game to lead Eastside Prep, which will face Camarillo, a 42-34 winner over St. Francis, in the semifinals on Monday night.

In the other semifinal at 6 p.m. Mitty and Enterprise will meet. The finals are Tuesday, also at 7:30 p.m., with the third-place game set for 6 p.m.

At the Steve Geramoni Invitational at Notre Dame-Belmont, Menlo School (5-4) will play for the consolation title on Monday against Burbank (Sacramento) at 4:30 p.m. The Knights bounced back from a first-round loss to defeat Sequoia on Saturday, 52-32. Anna Miller had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Knights while freshman De'jane Stine had seven steals as Menlo built a 42-16 halftime lead.

At the Newark Memorial Tournament in Fremont, Menlo Atherton defeated Balboa (San Francisco) on Saturday, 54-32, in the second round. M-A guards Sarah Howell and Annalisa Crowe combined for four 3-pointers in the first quarter to quickly open an 11-point lead and the Bears (5-2) never looked back. Every member of the M-A offense scored while limiting Balboa to 11 field goals in the game. The Bears wrap up tournament play Monday in the consolation finals.

At the Silver State Slam in Reno, Nev., Palo Alto reached its season high in points while drubbing Churchill, 86-45, on Saturday. The Vikings (8-3), who opened the tourney with a win over Damonte Ranch (61-39) and a loss to Reed (77-41), scored 46 points in the second half while cruising to victory. Paly made 17 3-pointers as freshman Amelia Schmarzo and sophomore Siggi Bengston sank four each. Schmarzo led the way with 17 points with Bengston finishing with 16. Sophomore Coco Lovely added 14 points.

At the Monterey Bay Sweet 16 Invitational in Salinas, Castilleja dropped a 61-44 decision to North Salinas in the third round on Saturday in Salinas. North Salinas (7-2), the defending Monterey Bay league champion, had won its previous six games by an average of 35 points and raced out to an early 13-4 lead.

The Gators (5-6) closed to 21-19, only to see the Vikings go on another run for a 35-22 halftime lead. Castilleja came out from intermission and played its best quarter of the season, outscoring North Salinas 17-7 to cut the deficit to 42-39 entering the fourth quarter. The Vikings then opened the fourth with yet another 9-0 run to put the game away.

Yasmeen Afifi led the Gators with her sixth double-double of the season (22 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks) and Maddie Tarr pulled down eight rebounds and dealt a team-high five assists. Ellie Chen scored 11 and had five steals and Paige Vermeer added eight points and six rebounds. Castilleja will play for seventh place on Monday.

Boys basketball

Menlo School seniors Alex Grossman and Wes Miller each scored 16 points, but it wasn't enough as the Knights fell to Rancho Cucamonga, 70-53, at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs on Saturday in third-round pool play. The Cougars (11-2) pulled out in front in the first and never trailed. Grossman also had a team-high nine rebounds while guard Bobby Roth contributed 13 points for Menlo (1-8), which concludes tournament play on Monday. Menlo dropped a tough 48-44 to Cathedral Catholic on Friday as Liam Dunn tallied 17 points.

At the Windsor Holiday Shootout, Palo Alto (5-4) won the consolation title with a 60-47 victory over McKinleyville on Saturday in Sonoma.

At the North Monterey County Christmas Classic at North Monterey High, Menlo-Atherton (5-3) dropped a 65-32 decision to Corona on Friday after opening with a 50-36 victory over St. Francis-Central Coast Catholic.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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