The anticipated showdown between Sacred Heart Prep and Pinewood, however, was pretty much decided in the opening half when the Gators put up 51 points on their way to an 87-71 victory in Atherton on Tuesday night. SHP (3-0, 11-2) moved into a tied for first place with Harker (3-0, 11-2) while Pinewood (3-1, 11-3) fell to second.
"That obviously is a surprise," said SHP coach Tony Martinelli, in his seventh season. "We've never scored that many points in a half since I've been here."
One big reason for the first-half outburst was the hot shooting of junior forward Cole McConnell, who hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, was nine for nine on his way to a 24-point first half and wound up with seven treys and a career-high 27 points.
"Cole shooting like that makes a lot of things we're doing look really good," Martinelli said. "He didn't miss many. It was nice we didn't have to tell the guys that he was hot."
McConnell made his first three shots, all three-pointers, while his teammates took advantage of 10-turnovers by Pinewood in the first quarter. The Panthers ended up with 16 miscues in the first half as SHP grabbed a 51-21 lead.
The Gators made five treys in the first quarter and had nine in the first half, finishing with 13. Colin Terndrup's basket to open the fourth quarter gave the Gators their biggest lead (33 points) at 76-43. Pinewood made a wild charge in the final period with 28 points, but the outcome was decided in the opening half. Kyle Riches led Pinewood with 20 points while Solomone Wolfgramm added 18 plus 10 rebounds and teammate Kevin Sweat scored all 12 of his points in the final quarter while SHP rested its starters.
Tomas O'Donnell was solid in the post for SHP and tallied 12 points. SHP senior twins Reed and Will McConnell each added nine.
Harker maintained its lead with Sacred Heart Prep following a 59-43 victory over visiting Priory on Tuesday night. Gabor Somogyi had 20 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Panthers (1-2, 7-4) from falling. Priory teammate Brandon Willhite added 15 points.
In another WBAL game, Menlo School pulled away in the second quarter and registered a 43-21 victory over host Eastside Prep. The Knights (2-1, 6-6) were led by Jonny Halprin with 10 points while Richard Harris added nine points and six rebounds. Will Miller chipped in seven rebounds and Kyle Bowman added four blocked shots
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto and Gunn are headed on a collision course after both remained tied for the lead with solid wins on Tuesday.
Palo Alto came up with a solid defensive effort and balanced scoring to remain unbeaten in the division with a 65-45 romp over visiting Los Altos. Israel Hakim led Paly (3-0, 9-5) with 10 points, but the Vikings had nine others score. A 23-7 outburst in the second quarter was the difference in the game.
At Gunn, senior Anthony Cannon poured in 22 points, knocking down six 3-pointers, as the Titans remained tied for first place with a 64-59 victory over visiting Homestead. Fellow senior Matt Redfield added 16 points for the Titans (3-0, 11-4), who pulled away from a three-point halftime lead with a third-quarter outburst.
In the PAL Bay Division, up-and-down Menlo-Atherton was down for its division opener, dropping a 50-46 decision to host El Camino on Wednesday. The Bears (0-1, 7-8) fell into an 18-9 hole after one quarter and never could overtake the Colts.
Myles Brewer led M-A with 16 points while 6-foot-6 Marquise Tolson added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Michael Culhane grabbed 10 boards and added nine points for the Bears.
Sophomore Claire Klausner scored 22 points while junior Cat Perez added 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while making 86 percent of her field goals to spark Gunn to a 67-40 romp over host Mountain View in a SCVAL De Anza Division game on Wednesday night.
The Titans (3-0, 11-2) made 46 percent of their two-goal baskets and 60 percent from the three-point (6 for 10) and out-rebounded the Spartans, 45-18. Klausner, a point guard, grabbed eight boards while Julia Maggioncalda pulled down nine to go with nine points. Freshman Zoe Zwerling had 14 points and six rebounds.
Elsewhere in the De Anza Division:
Getting a defensive effort that clamped down on visiting Monta Vista and allowed only 10 first-half points, Palo Alto cruised to a 68-42 victory. Sophomore center Josie Butler blocked three shots and altered numerous other attempts in the first half as the Vikings raced to a 36-10 lead. Lindsay Black and Katerina Peterson took turns defending Monta Vista's leading scorer, Alexandra Chiu, holding her to just two points by intermission. Chiu finished with 12, most coming after the game had been decided.
Sophomore Stephanie Allen took advantage of numerous fastbreaks created off Monta Vista turnovers, leading Paly with 17 points. Senior Sydney Davis added 13 while freshman post Danielle Palmer scored all of her eight points in the second half.
In the PAL Bay Division, visiting Menlo-Atherton got a three-pointer from senior Anna Crookston-Herschlag in the final minute to secure a 40-38 upending of Mills. Crookston-Herschlag ended up with a team-high 12 points for the Bears (1-0, 5-10).
Meanwhile, the WBAL (Foothill Division) season is barely a week old, yet the race for division honors is already taking shape. At the top, once again, is Pinewood, which solidified its claim to No. 1 with a 65-35 victory over host Sacred Heart Prep on Tuesday night.
Just below the Panthers is Eastside Prep, which bounced back from last week's loss to Pinewood and beat visiting Mercy-San Francisco, 50-30, on Tuesday.
Moving into the No. 3 spot among the contenders might be Menlo School, which took care of last season's Central Coast Section Division V finalist Castilleja, 50-41, on Tuesday.
Pinewood remains the team to beat, however, and the Panthers demonstrated once again why that's true by routing defense-minded Sacred Heart.
"We still have a lot of things to work on," said Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler, "but this was pretty good."
Pinewood (2-0, 11-3) raced to a 17-8 first-quarter lead and held a 38-16 halftime advantage. Hailie Eackles had 16 points and 15 rebounds while Kelsey Morehead added 15 points for the Panthers, who made 11 three-pointers in 22 attempts in one of their best shooting efforts of the season.
Melissa Holland paced Sacred Heart (0-1, 8-2) with 14 points and six rebounds while Erin Sheridan added nine points.
In East Palo Alto, Ahjalee Harvey tallied 14 points and Takara Burse added 12 points plus eight rebounds as the Panthers (1-1, 9-6) remained a game back of Pinewood in the WBAL race. Freshman Anisha Smith contributed 10 points to the winning effort.
In Atherton, host Menlo School (1-0, 11-3) opened its WBAL season in a big way against Castilleja (0-1, 8-4). Lauren Lete scored 10 points and helped control the pace of the game from her point-guard position. The Knights also got 10 points from Whitney Hooper and nine points and 10 rebounds from Drew Edelman.
Castilleja senior Natasha von Kaeppler was held to just 11 points, but Olivia Nicholls stepped up and led the Gators with 17. Castilleja managed just 12 points in the first half as Menlo took a 24-12 lead.