Uploaded: Saturday, March 9, 2013, 11:21 PM
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013, 8:33 AM
Gunn girls pull shocker with upset of No. 1 seed
View all photos (4)
|By Tom Jacoubowsky
Special to Palo Alto Online Sports
The Gunn girls' basketball team came up with what may be its greatest win in school history when the Titans upset heavily favored and top-seeded Monte Vista, 45-41, in the quarterfinals of the CIF Northern California Division I quarterfinals on Saturday night in Danville.
The win earned No. 8-seed Gunn (21-6) only its third trip ever to the NorCal semifinals. Moreover, the Titans will host for the first time when they be the first time they entertain No. 12 Berkeley (20-11) on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Berkeley gave Gunn its home game by upending No. 4 McClymonds, 54-44.
A home game for the semifinals seemed improbable and Gunn even had a brief ceremony honoring what many thought would be the final game ever at Robert A. Bow Gymnasium last week with Mr. Bow in attendance. The Titans will play in their new gym next season.
However, thanks to Gunn's upset of No. 1 Monte Vista (24-6), the Titans happily will get to host another "final" game.
"I couldn't be more proud of my girls," said an ecstatic Gunn head coach Sarah Stapp after the game. "This might be my best win ever. What really made it great was the fantastic turnout by our fans, they made a difference."
While the game was played more than 50 miles away and Monte Vista had a sizable turnout, the energy level of the Gunn fans could be heard throughout the evening.
Gunn has played in many big games including last year's Central Coast Section final win over Palo Alto, but no game has come close to comparing to this battle with an athletic Monte Vista team that has had a long history of playoff success and who many considered to be the odds on favorite to represent Northern California in the CIF Division I state finale.
It was a game that the Titans led for more than 25 minutes and at one time had a 12-point lead over the stunned Mustangs and their faithful following. However, the Mustangs came back and took a lead with a little over a minute to go on a four-point play.
Gunn's Claire Klausner then put the Titans up for good with a three-pointer with 47 seconds to go and then Sarah Klem iced the game when she scored on a breakaway layup with 11 seconds left after a Monte Vista turnover.
"Our girls had incredible composure tonight," said Stapp. "They played hard on every possession and it really showed when Klausner nailed the three."
The Titans did battle every possession and, while it wasn't quite with the frenzy that some of their previous opponents faced, it did look like at times they had an extra player on the court as Klausner, Klem , Zoe Zwerling , Olivia Tapia, Nora Shevick, Meghan Mahoney and Emily Redfield all rotated throughout the game and put constant pressure on the Mustangs.
Mahoney and Klem both had arguably the games of their lives as they played with an intensity that made the difference. The two scored 13 and eight points, respectively, and made some critical baskets that put the Mustangs on their heels.
Early in the second period, the Titans took a lead they wouldn't relinquish until the four-point play when Mahoney muscled inside and put in a basket to make it 11-10. Moments later Klem made an acrobatic twisting move for a layup while being fouled and the converted the free throw to make it 14-10.
A little later in the period, Monte Vista realized it was in a dogfight when Klausner did a diving steal and threw a pass to a streaking Zwerling for a layup to make it 17-13.
Gunn extended the lead to 21-15 at half when Mahoney made a basket and then later converted two free throws.
The second half saw Gunn continue its torrid pace as the Titans went on a 7-1 run to extend the lead to 28-16 on another Klem three-point play where she was fouled after the basket and made the free throw followed by baskets by Mahoney and Redfield.
At that point everything looked good for Gunn as it seemed to get all the loose balls and every shot seemed to bounce its way. However, when Klem and Zwerling both picked up three fouls, the tide began to change.
Monte Vista went on a 12-4 run keyed by two three pointers including a desperation one at the buzzer to cut the score to 32-28.
At this point it might have been expected for the favored Mustangs to gallop away, but the Titans had other ideas.
The two teams traded scores as Gunn kept the lead and it looked good when Klausner sank two free throws to give Gunn a 38-34 lead with 2:07 left.
But Monte Vista came right with a three pointer by Amanda Dailey to make it 38-37 and then after a Gunn turnover, Dailey launched a shot while being fouled from over 25 feet out and that hit nothing but net and then sank the free throw to give the Mustangs their first lead since the end of the first period at 41-40 with 1:09 left.
Gunn called a timeout and the veteran Titans ran their offense perfectly. With 47 seconds left in the game, Zwerling passed to an open Klausner on the left side and Klausner made the shot of her life as her three-pointer went through to the delirious delight of the Gunn fans and her teammates and Gunn led 43-41.
Monte Vista set up its own play with many expecting another long range three-pointer as the Mustangs had five on the night, but the swarming Gunn defense created a travelling turnover with 25 seconds remaining.
With the ball and the lead it looked good for Gunn, but hearts were beating fast as Zwerling was trapped in the backcourt and a Monte Vista defender knocked the ball away out of bounds with 18 seconds to go. The Titans inbounded again and this time Gunn was able to move the ball around and Klausner found a wide-open Klem who went for an easy layup to ice the game.
The Titans were led by the double figures of Mahoney and Klaunser with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Klem scored eight while Zwerling added seven. Rounding out the scoring were Emily Redfield with four and Tapia with three.
The win improves the Titans to 5-3 in the NorCal playoffs in their four appearances over the past five seasons, as they have best record in NorCal action of any public school in the CCS in the past 20 years.
Girls' Division IV
With senior Drew Edelman scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, the No. 5-seeded Menlo School girls' basketball team upended No. 4 seed and host Bear River, 53-38, in the quarterfinals on Saturday night in Grass Valley.
The Knights (22-9) shot 50 percent from the field (22 of 44) and also got 15 points from Maddy Price plus a solid defensive effort to advance to the semifinals on Tuesday at No. 1 Salesian (27-6). The semifinal winners will advance to the NorCal finals at American Canyon High next Saturday at 2 p.m.
Sacred Heart Prep saw its fine season end at 22-10 following a 74-43 loss to top-seeded and host Salesian (27-6) in the CIF NorCal Division IV quarterfinals Saturday night at Pinole Valley High in Richmond. Helen Gannon capped her career for the Gators with 12 points, the only SHP player to reach double figures. Salesian grabbed a 38-20 halftime time and coasted into Tuesday's semifinals.
Girls' Division V
No. 3-seeded Pinewood moved on in the playoffs with a 52-22 romp over No. 6 San Domenico (25-8) on Saturday night in Los Altos Hills. The Panthers (22-7) next will play in the semifinals on Tuesday, traveling to face No. 2 Valley Christian-Dublin (31-2), a 59-52 winner over No. 10 Pacific Collegiate (25-6).
The semifinal winners will meet in the NorCal finals this Saturday at American Canyon High at 10 a.m.
Pinewood knocked down 10 three-pointers in 32 attempts) and utilized a stifling defense to hold visiting San Domenico to just eight baskets for the game. The Panthers were led by sophomore point guard Marissa Hing, who tallied 14 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Pinewood broke open the game with a 17-6 second-quarter run that produced a 26-10 halftime lead.
Freshman Chloe Eackles pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds to go with four steals, three assists and nine points for Pinewood, which made more three-pointers (10) than two-pointers (8).
In East Palo Alto, top-seeded Eastside Prep advanced to the semifinals with a 52-43 victory over No. 9 Capital Christian (21-11). The Panthers (22-8) will host No. 4 International of San Francisco (29-4) on Tuesday in a semifinal game at 7 p.m. International advanced with a 61-47 win over No. 12 Turlock Christian.
Eastside Prep grabbed a 26-18 halftime lead and got eight rebounds in the third quarter from senior Hashima Carothers as the Panthers took s 42-28 lead into the final period. Carothers finished with 14 rebounds while Alexus Simon had 13 points, Destiny Graham blocked four shots and Charmaine Bradford dished out 10 assists.
Boys' Division IV
No. 6-seeded Menlo School wrapped up a 21-8 season following a 52-45 loss to No. 3 and host Marin Catholic (25-8) on Saturday night in the quarterfinals. The Knights wiped out a 14-point halftime deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Marin Catholic outscored Menlo 11-2 over the final 5:46 to secure the victory. Wes Miller led Menlo with 14 points while Bobby Roth and Ryan Young each tallied nine points.
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.
Posted by PA mom, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Mar 10, 2013 at 7:58 am
It would be incredible to see a TON of Palo Altans come out to support a group of PA athletes Tuesday night when Gunn Lady Titans host this historic game. There's nothing wrong with a cross-town rival but now this team belongs to our entire city! Let's come out in droves and show everyone how our community feels about our young people. It doesn't matter what school you are a part of at this point, Palo Alto is representing! Go Gunn!
Posted by Nice, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2013 at 9:35 am
Nice game ladies. Really looking forward to the game on Tuesday. These girls are "big time."
Posted by Jeff, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm
That is Awesome!
Keep it Rolling Girls!
Posted by 94303 torn, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Mar 11, 2013 at 11:02 am
Too bad Gunn's girls' game and Eastside Prep's girls' semifinal are at the same time Tuesday night! May they both go on to victory!!