Sacred Heart Prep opened its boys basketball season with an uncharacteristic 0-3 start. One reason for that was a lack of players.
A handful of Gators were still playing football, helping SHP reach its first-ever state championship game. While that successful season was wrapping up, SHP basketball coach Tony Martinelli was sweating out his early season schedule.
Martinelli actually called up two players from his JV team just to give him some depth.
The Gators have been at full strength for only two games -- following the return of Andrew Daschbach, Mason Randall, Justin Harmon and Mitch Martella -- and the results are evident of that.
On Tuesday, junior Corbin Koch tossed in a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the second half, to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 55-48 victory over host King's Academy in a West Bay Athletic League opener.
Randall and Daschbach, who along with Harmon and Martella, joined the team after playing in the CIF Division III state championship game, combined for 14 points. James McLean hit two big free throws following a technical foul on the King's coach, giving the Gators (1-0, 4-4) a 46-35 lead in the third quarter. King's rallied to within 50-46 before Randall sank a 3-pointer to hold off the Knights.
Tuesday's victory came on the heels of a big 48-47 nonleague triumph over West Catholic Athletic League power Serra.
In Los Altos Hills, Pinewood opened its WBAL season with a big 49-45 victory over visiting Harker. The Panthers (1-0, 9-2) were led by senior Greg Naumann's 18 points. He was 6-for-10 from the field and grabbed four rebounds while helping Pinewood lead at each quarter.
Harker, however, was within 32-31 at the end of three quarters before Pinewood edged ahead for good. Ryan Brice added nine points for Pinewood, which went 3-0 and won the Head Royce Tournament last week.
In Hillsborough, Menlo School snapped a six-game losing streak with a 64-25 victory over host Crystal Springs. The Knights (1-0, 2-9) jumped out to a 30-15 halftime lead and cruised from there while holding the Gryphons to just 10 second-half points.
Liam Dunn led Menlo with 15 points while fellow junior Jack Hammond added 10. Alex Grossman finished with nine points and eight rebounds plus four blocks.
"It was a great team effort as we've been focusing on playing as a unit and tonight it showed," Menlo coach Delandro Leday said. "We got off to a great start in the first quarter and our defense picked up in the second half. Jack Hammond and David Nahm stole the show. David had some really nice passes and his defense was just as good. Hammond was all over the place with his usually energy and Alex Grossman controlled the paint with 4 blocks and altered a lot of shots, as well."
Menlo School jumped out early and easily defeated visiting Urban, 61-38, in nonleague action Tuesday night. Every player on Menlo's roster scored with Hannah Paye leading the way with 13 points.
Kenzie Duffner led the team with seven rebounds while Angel Okoro had six. D'Jane Stine contributed nine points along five steals while Sam Erisman chipped in four assists at the point guard position. Menlo (8-4) next plays Friday night at home at 7:45 p.m. against Fortuna in a game that originally was part of the Willits Tournament.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, both Palo Alto and Gunn opened their respective league seasons on the road and both suffered losses.
The Vikings (0-1, 6-6) dropped a 49-44 decision to host Los Gatos while the Titans (0-1, 1-3) fell to division favorite Wilcox, 56-28. Siggi Bengston led Paly with 14 points while Gunn got eight points from Zoe Zwerling. The Titans trailed by 33-14 at halftime.
Menlo-Atherton opened its PAL Bay Division season with a 3-0 win over visiting Aragon on Tuesday. M-A dominated the first half, out-shooting the Dons by 9-0. The Bears (5-0-2) had their first opportunity when a beautiful cross from senior Cayla Stillman found junior Amanda Wiseman in front of the goal for a header that grazed the crossbar.
Shortly after coming in off the bench, senior Sabiha Viswanathan collected a ball from sophomore Sarah McLeod and beat a couple of defenders to put the Bears on the scoreboard in the first half. McLeod followed with her own goal minutes later on an assist from freshman Katie Guenin for a 2-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Aragon managed three shots and forced two saves by sophomore goalkeeper Ilana Winawer. The Bears kept attacking with another nine shots -- and converted the only score of the second half when Guenin found junior forward Annie Harrier open in front of the net to convert. The tough defense from M-A preserved the shutout victory.
Elsewhere in the PAL Bay Division, Woodside (0-0-1, 6-0-2) and Burlingame played to a 2-2 deadlock while Carlmont (1-0, 4-2-1) edged Hillsdale, 2-1.
In Atherton, senior Alex Bourdillion scored two goals as Sacred Heart Prep opened its WBAL Foothill Division season with a 4-0 victory over visiting Pinewood (0-1, 1-8), which was making its first appearance in the upper division.
"Overall, a pretty good showing in our first game against one of the better teams in the Foothill Division," said Pinewood coach Michael Tetzlaff, whose roster includes four members of the school's basketball team who usually play only in home matches.
The Gators (1-0, 6-1-1) got the winning goal in the 22nd minute of the first half from sophomore Carey Bradley, who assisted on Bourdillion's first goal in the 48th minute. Tierna Davidson made it 3-0 in the 58th minute before Bourdillion finished things off in the 80th minute. Blair Hamilton and Brigid White added assists for SHP, which hosts rival Menlo School on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
In WBAL Skyline Division play, Eastside Prep dropped a 9-0 decision to host Harker.
In nonleague action, Castilleja lost a close game to host Monta Vista in Cupertino, 2-1. The match was tied, 1-1, at the half with Castilleja's equalizer coming from sophomore Anais Sarrazin on an assist from Kathleen Mhatre. Castilleja (2-2) is still playing with a depleted roster.