But, this has been such an up-and-down season for the Vikings that it was only a matter of time before the team rebounded. That time came Tuesday night.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the week, host Palo Alto shocked first-place Mountain View, 40-37, to tighten an already close division race. The Spartans (7-3, 14-8) still own first place, but Wilcox (6-4), Lynbrook (5-4) and Monta Vista (5-4) are close behind. Paly (4-5, 11-8) moved up, but only three games remain in the regular season.
The Vikings' defense was the key, making up for the team's 6-of-19 shooting from the free-throw line. Sophomore Emilee Osagiede led the way with 10 points while holding off the Spartans' comeback attempt with her rebounding.
Victoria Shih, Lauren Mah and Stephanie Allen also were singled out by coach Scott Peters for their defensive effort and ability to break Mountain View's press in the late going. Paly junior Katerina Peterson tipped in a missed free throw with 4.2 seconds to play to prevent the Spartans from getting off a potential game-tying shot.
In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), senior Felicia Anderson knocked down seven three-pointers and scored a season-high 30 points on Senior Night and freshman Hashima Carothers grabbed 11 rebounds as Eastside Prep remained tied for first place with a 66-51 victory over visiting Menlo on Tuesday night.
The Panthers (8-1, 19-4) raced to a 19-8 first-quarter lead before the Knights (3-6, 12-10) made a game of it. Menlo, however, had to foul in the late going in an attempt to catch up, with Eastside scoring 10 points from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Ahjalee Harvey added 15 points and six assists while Carothers chipped in with 12 and Ausjerae Holland tallied nine for the Panthers. Freshman Drew Edelman had another big double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds while Whitney Hooper added 12 points and Jasmine Williams had nine.
In Los Altos Hills, Pinewood stayed in a first-place tie with Eastside Prep following a 73-40 romp over visiting Sacred Heart Prep on Senior Night for the Panthers. Junior guard Miranda Seto, who played at SHP her freshman yet, scored 12 of her 23 points in the third quarter to pace Pinewood (8-1, 18-5). Hailie Eackles added 15 points and seven rebounds while Emily Liang added 14 points. Kelsey Morehead had seven rebounds and six assists to go with her five points while SHP (0-9, 7-15) was led by freshman Melissa Holland's 14 points.
On Wednesday, Castilleja won its 10th consecutive Senior Night as the Gators took care of visiting Mercy-San Francisco in a WBAL (Foothill Division) game, 56-39, avenging a two-point loss to the Skippers late last month. The victory moved Castilleja (4-5, 16-7) into a tie with Mercy-SF (4-5, 18-5) for second place.
As was the case in the previous meeting, Castilleja dominated early. Junior Natasha von Kaeppler scored four points early to become the fourth Castilleja player in school history to score 1,000 career points. She finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds to go along with seven blocked shots and three steals.
Eve Zelinger followed up with a feat of her own as she connected on a three-point field goal to become the first player in WBAL history to score 700 career league points. That shot gave Castilleja a 15-6 first-quarter advantage.
Unlike the previous matchup, the Gators' dominance lasted the entire first half as Castilleja had what appeared to be a comfortable 29-14 halftime advantage — thanks to Zelinger and von Kaeppler, who accounted for all of the Gators' 14 second-quarter points. In the third period, Mercy came roaring back as Castilleja's shooting went cold. The Skippers closed the gap to six as they hit a jumper to beat the third-quarter buzzer.
A three-pointer by Mercy in the opening seconds of the fourth made it one-possession game, but Castilleja eventually found its offense again by outscoring the Skippers, 19-5, to finish the game. Zelinger tallied 18 points to give her 1,800 in her career. She also had three steals and two blocks.
In the PAL Bay Division, host Menlo-Atherton couldn't handle first-place Terra Nova and dropped a 62-50 decision on Tuesday night. Victoria Fakalata led the Bears (4-5, 9-14) with 19 points.