Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - March 19, 2010

Season ends for Castilleja, SHP and Pinewood

Three local basketball seasons all came to a sudden end in the quarterfinals of the Northern California playoffs last week as Castilleja plus the Sacred Heart Prep and Pinewood boys all lost.

If one loss was more frustrating than the others, it has to be Castilleja's. The Gators dropped a 53-39 decision in the Division V quarterfinals to visiting Head Royce, a team Castilleja had beaten earlier in the season (39-36) on Head Royce's home floor.

While Castilleja (20-10) and Head Royce (29-5) played evenly for the first 29 minutes of the game, the game changed when junior Natasha von Kaeppler picked up her fourth fould with three minutes left in the third quarter.

With Castilleja holding a two-point lead with 11 minutes still to play, Gators' coach Jez McIntosh pulled von Kaeppler (who finished with 20 points) to save her for the fourth quarter. At that point, Head Royce took advantage of von Kaeppler being on the bench and went on a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach.

Castilleja finished the season with back-to-back losses for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign. Senior Eve Zelinger capped a sensational career by grabbing eight rebounds and scoring nine points, finishing with 1,875 points for her career. She leaves as the school's all-time leader in points, assists, steals, field goals, three-point goals, triple-doubles and games played.

In the boys' NorCal Division IV quarterfinals, host Sacred Heart Prep fell to St. Patrick/St. Vincent (Vallejo), 64-47. The Gators (23-6) actually held a 27-23 lead with 5:30 left in the third quarter before the visitors eventually broke the game open with a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter.

The Gators were forced out of their comfort zone and denied good looks at the basket by the St. Patrick/St. Vincent defense. Senior Ty Cobb finished his SHP career with 14 points and 10 rebounds while junior Reed McConnell added 13 points, seven coming with the game decided.

In the boys' NorCal Division V quarterfinals, Pinewood (20-8) fell behind early and had too much of a deficit to make up before losing to top-seeded Branson, 49-41, at College of Marin. The Panthers, playing in NorCals for the first time in 14 years, were held to just 3-of-17 shooting in the first half. Pinewood used a fullcourt press in the fourth quarter to pull closer. Sophomore Solomone Wolfgramm led Pinewood with 17 points while versatile senior Max Lippe finished with 10.

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