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February 23, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

CCS BASKETBALL SCOUTING REPORT CCS BASKETBALL SCOUTING REPORT (February 23, 2005)

BOYS Division I

Menlo-Atherton

The Bears (14-12) open tournament play Thursday against No. 7 and host Alisal (19-5). The winner advances to the quarterfinals on Saturday at Foothill College against the winner of No. 2 Serra and No. 15 Silver Creek. Menlo-Atherton finished fourth in the PAL Bay Division, losing badly to co-champ Woodside in the PAL playoff semifinals. Senior Dan Trautman is a talented 6-foot-5 forward who leads the Bears in scoring while Carson Finkle is a proven scorer and floor leader who took over when Trautman missed five games late in the season with a sprained ankle. Senior forward Chris Dallmar needs to be more productive offensively and the Bears need to clamp down defensively if they hope to get past the opening round.

Division II

Gunn

The Titans (11-14) petitioned successfully to make the tournament and earned a No. 11 seed. They open Wednesday at No. 6 Overfelt (21-2). The winner advances to the quarterfinals on Saturday at Santa Clara High (4:30 p.m.) against the Santa Clara-Riordan winner. The Titans are talented but young. Their two best players, Peter Jordan and David Riley, are sophomores. Guard Bernard Anthony also is a sophomore while forward Matt Johnson is a junior. Gunn lost its final four games of the SCVAL De Anza Division season and needs to find a spark just to reach the quarterfinals. Jordan, however, can light it up but he needs help from Riley and others to get the job done.

Palo Alto

The top-seeded Vikings (25-1) are favored to win their fourth section crown, the first since 2003. They open Wednesday at home (7 p.m.) against No. 16 Lincoln of San Jose (10-13). A victory will send Paly into the quarterfinals on Saturday at Santa Clara High (6:15 p.m.) against either South San Francisco or Evergreen Valley. The Vikings are tall, experienced, talented and deep. The only way they lose in CCS is to beat themselves by either being overconfident or having everyone go cold on the same night. That, however, hasn't happened this season. There is always one player with a hot hand and junior guard Jeremy Lin has proven himself to always find that player. His deft passing and playmaking makes him the team's most valuable player on a squad loaded with candidates. Senior forward Brian Baskauskas and junior forward Steven Brown are dangerous three-point threats while 6-6 senior Greg Walder, 6-5 junior Cooper Miller and 6-4 reserve Martin Mouton add depth and spark to the Vikings' smothering defense, which is a big reason why Paly has won 12 straight since losing in the finals of the St. Francis Tournament to Santa Cruz, the Division III favorite at 28-1. Paly has allowed more than 50 points only once in the past seven games, that a 78-60 win over Fremont. During that time, the Vikings are averaging just over 70 points a game.

Division IV

Menlo School

The Knights (17-6) received the No. 4 seed and will open Saturday with a quarterfinal game against either No. 5 Oceana or No. 12 King City at Alvarez High at 2:45 p.m. The winner will advance to the semifinals on March 2, also at Alvarez, likely against top-seeded Valley Christian-San Jose. Menlo won the PAL North Division title but was knocked out of the PAL playoffs by Menlo-Atherton in the opening round. The Knights are short on height with three players at 6-3, but first-year coach Kris Weems has his team playing with a lot of desire, which can make up for any size shortcomings. Junior Blake Schultz leads the Knights in a number of categories, but perhaps most important in leadership. Senior Brandy Bassett and Matt Curtis are the other 6-3 players while sophomore Beau Heidrich plus juniors Kirk Lacob and Nick Schneider are other key contributors. The key for the Knights is to be able to make their shots and play tenacious defense. They can't afford to let an opponent put up big numbers. They showed they can handle a taller team, despite losing to M-A, 52-48.

Division V

Sacred Heart Prep

The Gators (20-5) are seeded No. 1 and will open play Saturday in a quarterfinal against either No. 9 Fremont Christian or No. 8 Redwood Christian at Burlingame High at 1 p.m. Sacred Heart beat both those teams twice during the regular season, when the Gators went 16-0 in the Private Schools Athletic League. SHP should reach the semifinals on March 1 against either No. 4 Mid-Peninsula or No. 5 North Valley Baptist. Junior guard Pat Coffey leads SHP in scoring and on the floor. His leadership is invaluable. Should he get into foul trouble or if opposing teams are able to shut him down, the Gators could be in trouble. Junior Eric Cowell (6-4) and senior Thomas Donahoe (6-3) need to be aggressive on the boards and support Coffey offensively. Sophomore guard Michael McMahon has shown a spark offensively recently while Max Mandel, Mikel Davila and Kevin Dos Remedios are valuable reserves.

Eastside Prep

The defending champion Panthers (24-6) are seeded second and favored to reach the finals on March 5. Coach Chris Bischof's team opens Saturday in the quarterfinals against the winner of No. 10 San Francisco Christian and No. 7 St. Lawrence at Burlingame High at 2:45 p.m. The Panthers have won 13 straight and have been strengthened recently by the additions of seniors Derrick Haynie and Clarence Webster. Both missed the first half of the season while concentrating on academics and both have added invaluable experience and depth to a squad that started the season extremely young but now can put three seniors on the floor. Tim Johnson, a valuable swing player, is the other. Sophomore guards Marquis Pickrom, Ramon Meacham and Mobolaji are key elements to a team short on height but long on desire. Eastside Prep could be tested by King's Academy in the semifinals on March 1, but likely will make it to the finals and earn an automatic berth into the NorCal playoffs.

Mid-Peninsula

The Dragons (17-7) have a golden opportunity to do some damage in the tournament, receiving the No. 4 seed and earning a quarterfinal berth opposite North Valley Baptist on Saturday at Burlingame High at 6:15 p.m. North Valley Baptist knocked Mid-Peninsula out of the CPSAL playoffs with a defeat in double-overtime, and the Dragons are ready for payback. Senior post Walter Washington is the force behind Mid-Pen's successful season and has plenty of talent around him. Sophomore guard Jamar Williams is a welcomed addition this season, as is 6-3 senior Marcus Thomas. Sophomore Bruce Grady, junior David Cruz, senior Reggie Demery and junior Ben Capon all are offensive threats. The key for Mid-Pen is not to make mistakes. The Dragons would have beaten Eastside Prep earlier in the season had not the Dragons turned the ball over late in the game and let the Panthers back in. Coach Curtis Haggins has vowed to make sure his team learns from its mistakes. His squad should face Sacred Heart Prep in the semifinals and could be a spoiler in that one, reaching the finals and gaining another shot at Eastside Prep.

GIRLS
Division II

Palo Alto

The Vikings (18-9) have done a remarkable job under coach Amy Stock, earning the No. 8 seed after overcoming the loss of three starters to finish second in the SCVAL De Anza Division. Paly opens on Thursday at home against No. 9 Leland at 7 p.m. A victory, however, earns the Vikings another date with No. 1 Mitty in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Notre Dame-Belmont (4:30 p.m.). Mitty eliminated Paly in the quarterfinals last season. With leading scorers Bre Clay and Amber Jones out with injuries and its tallest player, 5-11 Dami Wusu, sidelined by academics, Paly nonetheless pulled together behind juniors Megan Grant, Melody Gaal, Ranecia Fields and late-season transfer Gabby Hanson to keep the season afloat and earn a CCS berth.

Division IV

Menlo School

The Knights (14-10) are seeded No. 9 and will open second-round play Thursday at No. 8 King City (17-7) at 7 p.m. A victory will earn Menlo a shot at top-seeded Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday at Gilroy High (4:30 p.m.) and a likely early exit from the tournament. Menlo banks on seniors Konstance Kirkendoll, Julia Martin, Christina White and Anna Wipfler, while junior Lauren Kaewert and sophomores Allie Zamaria and Alex Shepard have been key players, as well.

Division V

Pinewood

The top-seeded Panthers (20-5) are everyone's favorite to defend their section title on March 5. Pinewood has proven itself against some of the best teams in Northern California this season while winning 13 straight games. The Panthers won't play until the semifinals on Tuesday, facing the winner of No. 4 Castilleja and No. 5 King's Academy as Mercy-San Francisco. Despite having only eight players, coach Doc Scheppler has one of his deepest teams in years. Every player plays and everyone has contributed. He has playoff experienced players in senior Daniela Roark and junior Liz Altmaier, young talented players in sophomore Sami Field-Polisso, 6-1 Aly Geppert and fellow freshman Grace Beck, plus a huge addition in junior transfer Hannah Lippe. Toss in sophomore Tika Koshiyama-Diaz and 6-1 senior Thea Morin and the Panthers have all the makings of a team headed deep into the NorCal tournament.

Sacred Heart Prep

The No. 2-seeded Gators (17-12) are battle-tested tough after playing the regular season in the West Catholic Athletic League. They'll open against No. 7 Downtown College Prep (10-10) on Saturday at Mercy-San Francisco at 10 a.m., and are favored to advance to the semifinals on March 1 against Eastside Prep. Senior Jessica Pecota leads the Gators in scoring and rebounding and has been solid all season. She's supported by senior Emma Hoffacker, senior Christina Dillingham, junior Isa Dillingham, sophomore Kim Culpan and freshman point guard Hannah Stephens. The key for SHP is to hit the boards and play tough defense. If that happens, look for the Gators to return to the finals and get another shot at Pinewood.

Eastside Prep

The goal of the No. 3-seeded Panthers (22-6) is to get back to the finals, where they won the 2003 title. Eastside hasn't been tested that much this season and likely won't in its opener on Saturday against No. 6 Fremont Christian (11-11) at Mercy-San Francisco at 11:45 a.m. The real test will come in the semifinals against Sacred Heart Prep. The Panthers have the talent and experience to return to the NorCal playoffs, with seniors Brijitti Crum and Sharissa McDaniel leading the way. Sophomore Torey Walker has been a big plus this season as has freshman center Samantha Bunch, a 6-footer. The Panthers like to run and shoot three-pointers, play hard defense and win.

Castilleja

The Gators (15-9) started out the season with high hopes, but ran through some rough patches. Nonetheless, they've finished the regular season strong and are ready for Saturday's opener against No. 5 King's Academy (14-14) at Mercy-San Francisco at 1:30 p.m. A victory, however, will earn Castilleja a berth opposite heavily favored Pinewood in the semifinals. Seniors Mika Peterman and Nikki Perlman have once again led Castilleja in scoring and rebounding. Seniors Ashley D'Amour and Kirsten Stasio, junior Anne Vander Ploeg, sophomores Brett Powers and Annie Given plus freshmen Marion Cohn and Lindsay Taylor have helped make the season a successful one.


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