Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - January 31, 2014

WBAL boys' race is taking shape

Sacred Heart Prep, Pinewood are one-two and headed for a showdown

by Keith Peters

The West Bay Athletic League boys' basketball race is finally taking shape with the top three teams clearly in order.

Sacred Heart Prep remains the No. 1 team following a 69-45 thumping of host Crystal Springs on Tuesday night. The Gators, who started the season 0-3, are 7-0 in league and 12-5 overall after winning for the 10th time in the past 11 games.

James McLean led the way against the winless Gryphons as he tossed in 15 points. Corbin Koch added 14 and Mason Randall finished with 11 as 12 Gators scored.

SHP outscored Crystal Springs 51-18 over the second and third quarters while holding on to first place. The Gators will visit Priory on Friday before hosting Pinewood on Tuesday in a showdown for first place at 7:30 p.m.

Just a game back of Sacred Heart Prep is Pinewood, which grabbed sole possession of second place with a 57-46 victory over host Menlo School.

The Panthers (5-1, 14-3) also won for the 10th time in their past 11 games by making 11 of 21 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Nathan Beak contributed four treys and finished with a game-high 15 points while Ryan Brice and Kyle Murphy each added three as they combined for 20 points.

Menlo (5-2, 6-11) trailed by only two points (28-26) at halftime and was just three points down entering the final period before Pinewood pulled away with five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and dropped the Knights into third place.

In Portola Valley, host Priory continued to improve and move up in the standings following a 58-54 win over Harker. The Panthers (3-4, 11-5) have won four of five games since last week.

Senior Connor Bonfiglio led the way with 27 points while sophomore Scott Harris added 17 and now has scored 111 points in his past five games. Andy Isokpehi contribued 12 points as Priory continued to get solid production from that trio.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Alex Gil-Fernandez scored a season-high 24 points and Chris Russell added 19, but host Gunn still came up short in a 59-57 loss to Monta Vista on Wednesday night.

The Titans fell to 2-4 in league (10-7 overall) after failing to hold on to a 13-point lead. The Matadors got the winning basket with just four seconds to play. Russell finished with a career-high 17 rebounds. His 3-pointer gave Gunn its biggest lead at 50-37. A follow shot off his own miss by Gil-Fernandez tied the game at 57.

Gunn will visit rival Palo Alto in a nonleague game Saturday (4:30 p.m.) after visiting Cupertino on Friday night.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto got 21 points from junior Kevin Mullin and 17 from senior Noah Phillips in a 63-49 victory over visiting Homestead. The Vikings (4-2, 9-8) pulled away from a 11-11 first quarter by outscoring the Mustangs, 18-7, in the second period.

Keesean Johnson added nine points, 10 rebounds and four steals for Paly with Phillips contributing seven rebounds and five assists.

In the PAL South Division, visiting Menlo-Atherton dropped a 51-37 decision to Aragon as the Bears fell to 4-3 in league (11-7 overall). Oliver Bucka was the only M-A player scoring in double figures with 16 points.

Girls basketball

Marissa Hing scored 20 points and Monique McDevitt added 16 as Pinewood remained atop the WBAL Foothill Division race with a 79-45 romp on Tuesday night in Atherton.

The Panthers moved to 5-0 in league (17-1 overall) while the Knights dropped to 3-2 and 12-7. Menlo had no answer for Pinewood's hot shooting, which included 15 3-pointers. Menlo was led in scoring by Donya Dehnad, who had 12 points.

In San Jose, Sacred Heart Prep got 15 points from Meghan Holland as the Gators rolled to a 52-38 victory over host Notre Dame-San Jose. Caroline Cummings added 13 points and Jane Meehan had 10 as SHP moved to 2-3 in league and 11-8 overall.

The Mercy (San Francisco)-Eastside Prep game was not reported.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Castilleja returned home after playing 15 games on the road and came away with a 63-40 win over King's Academy in a battle of unbeaten division teams.

Sparked by freshman Cate Alder's trio of 3-pointers, the Gators (5-0, 10-8) jumped out to a 20-8 first-quarter lead. Castilleja junior center Yasmeen Afifi entered the game averaging a double-double (14 ppg, 10 rpg), but the Knights (4-1, 14-4) surrounded her throughout. Alder, Paige Vermeer and Ellie Chen responded with a total of six 3-pointers and a combined 29 first-half points.

Castilleja led by 38-23 at halftime and extended the lead in the second half. Vermeer finished with a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds. Chen scored 18 (despite not attempting a free throw for only the second game this season) and had four assists, and Alder tallied career highs of 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and six steals.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn overcame the loss of three injured played to post a 48-39 victory over visiting Mountain View. The Titans (4-1, 5-3) got 15 points from senior Camille Steger, who drained four 3-pointers. Senior Zoe Zwerling added 11 points and junior Olivia Tapia finished with 10.

Gunn took over the first half with leads as much as 20 points while grabbing a 32-16 halftime lead. The Titans play at Los Gatos on Friday before visiting rival Palo Alto on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Elsewhere in the SCVAL De Anza Division, Wilcox remained atop the league with a 58-36 win over host Palo Alto. The Vikings (1-4, 7-9) hung close until the third quarter when the Chargers outscored Paly by 21-10 to grab control. Lauren Koyama led the Vikings with 13 points.

In the PAL South Division, Menlo-Atherton raced to an early lead on the way to a 61-42 victory over visiting Aragon on Wednesday. The Bears (5-2, 13-6) started fast and led the entire game. Six girls scored in the first quarter to open a 21-6 lead during an evening that saw all nine of the M-A players on the scoreboard.

The Bears were led by senior Captain Emma Heath, who had 18 points — including 10 for 10 from the free-throw line. M-A freshman Ofa Sili added 11 points.

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