Castilleja advances in the WBAL basketball playoffs

Led by sophomore guard Ellie Chen's 23 points, Castilleja opened the West Bay Athletic League basketball tournament with a 56-36 victory over visiting Harker on Monday. The win was the Gators' 10th straight, a school record.

Castilleja came out on fire with five first-quarter 3-pointers en route to a 24-8 lead as Chen and freshman Cate Alder combined for 13 points. Chen and Alder totaled another 13 points in the third quarter and the Gators maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the second half.

In addition to her 23 points, Chen had five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Alder finished with 11 points and four assists. Junior Paige Vermeer, who had torched Harker for 40 points in two previous regular-season meetings during the Skyline Division season, was hindered by foul trouble and held to five points, but had 10 rebounds and five assists.

Juniors Yasmeen Afifi and Maddie Tarr combined for 13 points and 15 rebounds. The Gators (17-8 overall) will travel to Notre Dame-San Jose on Tuesday 6:30 p.m.) for the second round of the WBAL tournament.

Another win will vault Castilleja into Thursday's quarterfinals against host Menlo School at 6:30 p.m. Sacred Heart Prep also will host that night at the same time.

The semifinals shift to King's Academy in Sunnyvale on Friday, where top-seeded Pinewood (23-1) will play at 6 p.m. and No. 2 Eastside Prep (16-8) goes at 7:30 p.m. The finals are Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Peninsula Athletic League basketball playoffs begin this week with the Menlo-Atherton girls (16-8) receiving a No. 4 seed in the South Division. The Bears open Wednesday at Westmoor in Daly City at 7 p.m. The semifinals at Friday (3 p.m. and 6 p.m.) and finals Saturday (6 p.m., both at Capuchino High.

The Menlo-Atherton boys (15-8), who tied with Sequoia for fourth place in the South, lost a coin flip with the Cherokees and will not be competing this week. Next up for the Bears will be the Central Coast Section playoffs.

Meanwhile, the final week of the boys' WBAL season will be this week with Sacred Heart Prep and Pinewood still tied for first place. The Gators (11-1, 16-6) will host Harker on Tuesday and King's Academy on Friday, both at 6:30 p.m. The Panthers (11-1, 19-3) will host Priory on Tuesday (5 p.m.) and visit Harker on Thursday (6:30 p.m.).

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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