First place in WBAL races at stake for boys and girls

Sole possession of first place in the West Bay Athletic League basketball races will be on the line Tuesday night as the defending champs hope to continue their unbeaten league seasons.

The Menlo School boys, who won the WBAL crown last season with a 13-1 record that included a sweep of Sacred Heart Prep, will visit the Gators (7:30 p.m.) in the first of two regular-season meetings. The Knights come in 4-0 (5-9) while the Gators are 4-0 (9-4) and riding a seven-game win streak.

In Los Altos Hills, the defending WBAL Foothill Division champion Eastside Prep girls (2-0, 10-6) will take on host Pinewood (2-0, 14-1) at 6 p.m. Eastside Prep swept Pinewood last year in three league games, including the playoff final, but Pinewood got even by winning their showdown in the NorCal Division V finals and advancing to the state title game.

In another showdown, the Menlo School girls (1-1, 10-6) will visit Sacred Heart Prep (1-1, 10-6) in a game that will move the winner into a tie for second with the loser of the Eastside Prep-Pinewood game. Tip off is 6 p.m.

Menlo tuned up for tonight's game by pulling out to a 10-point halftime lead and overcoming 28 percent shooting from the floor to post a 54-48 nonleague victory over John F. Kennedy in the Terra Nova Martin Luther King Shootout on Monday in Pacifica.

Menlo was led by Hannah Paye's 17 points, which included four 3-pointers, and nine rebounds. She also had four steals. Sam Erisman and Mackenzie Duffner each chipped in with 11 points, with Duffner adding eight rebounds and Erisman seven assists as the Knights out-rebounded the Highlanders, 42-31.

In another MLK Shootout game in Pacifica, Castilleja lost a 52-49 thriller to El Camino.

Paige Vermeer sparked the Gators (7-8) to an 18-10 second-quarter lead, only to see El Camino go on an 11-1 run for a 21-19 halftime advantage.

Castilleja's Yasmeen Afifi scored 10 third-quarter points, yet the Colts were able to extend their lead to 41-36. The Gators then rallied to knot the score at 48 with a minute remaining, but El Camino converted four late free throws for the victory.

Afifi led Castilleja with 18 points. Vermeer, who literally stole the show at Mercy-Burlingame last week with a school-record 10 steals, swished a pair of 3-pointers en route to 15 points. She now ranks third in school history in 3-pointers, trailing only Olivia Nicholls ('13) and Eve Zelinger ('10). Vermeer also had seven assists and six rebounds. Ellie Chen added 12 points for Castilleja.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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