Menlo School, Palo Alto and Eastside Prep all registered victories in their respective divisions in the second round of the Central Coast Section boys' basketball playoffs on Thursday night.
The Knights jumped out of the gates and even led by 15 before Gonzales' Chrystian Harrigan dropped in a basket. Still, the Knights ended the first with a 21-8 advantage. Menlo went on a 10-point run to start the second quarter and closed the half, leading 33-18.
As they have done most of the season, the Knights won with a balanced attack -- three players scored in double figures. Wes Miller had a team-high 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and blocked four shots. Junior Liam Dunn added 12 more points, four rebounds and four assists. Bobby Roth scored 11 and tallied four assists and three steals. Alex Grossman pulled down eight rebounds and Ryan Young grabbed seven boards for the Knights.
Also in Santa Cruz on Saturday, top-seeded Sacred Heart Prep (17-7) will open section play against West Bay Athletic League rival King's Academy (15-10) at 1 p.m.
In Division I second-round action, Palo Alto played the final game in its 85-year-old gym and made it a good one with a 61-49 victory over No. 11 Sequoia (12-8). The Vikings (14-10) had one of their more-balanced efforts of the season as Keesean Johnson and fellow senior Noah Phillips had 14 points, junior Kevin Mullin added 12 and senior Clark Schmutz finished with 11.
Paly converted 23 of 32 free-throw attempts, scoring all 17 of its fourth-quarter points from the line. The Vikings jumped out to a 22-8 first-quarter lead, closing with a 10-0 run, and rolled from there.
Palo Alto next will play No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (16-8) on Saturday in the quarterfinals at Piedmont Hills at 6:15 p.m.
In Division V play, No. 5 Eastside Prep (10-15) advanced to the quarterfinals with a 49-35 win over visiting Latino College Prep. The Panthers will visit No. 4 Alma Heights on Saturday in Pacifica at 6:15 p.m.
Top-seeded Pinewood (20-4) also will play at Alma Heights on Saturday, facing WBAL rival and No. 8 seed Crystal Springs (7-17) at 2:45 p.m.
Following Pinewood will be No. 2 Priory (14-9), which will take on No. 7 St. Thomas More (20-6) at 4:30 p.m.
No. 7-seeded Menlo-Atherton opened the CCS Division I playoffs with a 52-41 victory over No. 10 seed Silver Creek in second-round action on Thursday night in Atherton.
In the first quarter, Silver Creek opened an 8-3 lead but M-A's defense tightened, holding the Raiders scoreless for over three minutes on a strong defensive effort from sophomore Annalisa Crowe. Senior captain Emma Heath scored six of her 14 points in the first quarter while helping open a six-point lead, which remained at the half.
In the third quarter, M-A began firing on all cylinders as the defense held the Raiders scoreless for over four minutes while the offense scored 17 points, led by freshman post Ofa Sili, who had eight of her 21 points in the third. Sili closed the third with a thunderous shot block, which brought a roar from the crowd. Early in the fourth M-A pushed its lead to 23 points. Silver Creek staged a minor comeback, but M-A hung on to win.
The Bears (17-9) next will play No. 2 North Salinas (22-2) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. at Gunn High.
Top-seeded Gunn (8-7) will host No. 8 Evergreen Valley (15-13) at 1 p.m., and No. 3 Palo Alto (11-12) will face No. 6 Mountain View (14-11) at 4:30 p.m., to round out local action in the Titans' gym.
In Division IV second-round action, Yasmeen Afifi's third triple-double of the season powered No. 5-seeded Castilleja to a 38-24 win over visiting No. 12 Pacific Grove (18-8) in Palo Alto. The Gators survived a subpar outside shooting night but rode Afifi's inside scoring and a stingy defense to a 20-8 halftime lead. Castilleja extended the lead to 15 points in the second half and its defense did the rest.
Afifi finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and 12 blocks, giving her over 700 career points and over 200 career blocks. WBAL Skyline Division MVP Paige Vermeer led the defensive effort with eight of the team's 17 steals, and added nine points and five rebounds. Cate Alder hit a pair of threes and totaled eight points.
The Gators (18-9) next face No. 4 Mercy-San Francisco (12-15) in the CCS quarterfinals on Saturday at Notre Dame-Belmont at 2:45 p.m. In other games at the same site, No. 2 Menlo School (15-11) will face No. 7 Monte Vista Christian (18-6) at 1 p.m., and No. 3 Sacred Heart Prep (13-12) will take on No. 6 King's Academy (20-6) at 4:30 p.m.
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