Sports ShortsMARCH MADNESS . . . Menlo School grad Blake Schultz is headed to the Final Four. The senior co-captain scored 29 points to help Williams College down Brandeis, 71-57, on its home court at Chandler Gym in Williamstown, MA in the NCAA Division III sectional final last Saturday. Schultz, the NESCAC Player of the Year, and Josten's Trophy winner, also grabbed seven rebounds as the Ephs (29-1) added to their ongoing school record in-season win streak of 20 games. "We were able to pull away because of our defensive intensity and because we paid attention to the scouting report," said Schultz. "We struggled with that sometimes this season, and I think we really stepped up at the end of the floor. It's a testament to how hard and gritty we can play."
Williams meets Guilford (30-2) in one of the national semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. in Salem, Va. Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Randolph Macon meet in the other semifinal. The Ephs are making their fifth trip to the Final Four, most of any Division III team. The Ephs are 5-3 at the Final Four in Salem — the team came in third in 1997 and 1998, claimed the NCAA title in 2003 and came in second in 2004. Williams is now 29-9 in NCAA tournament play. Elsewhere, Gunn High grad David Riley scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds but Whitworth University fell to Eastern Mennonite University, 74-71, at Guilford College's Regan-Brown Fieldhouse in Greensboro, N.C. on Friday in the NCAA Division III sectional semifinals, or the Sweet Sixteen. The fourth-ranked Pirates saw their school-record 25 game winning streak come to an end but finished 26-3, tying the 1996 team for most victories in school history. Riley, a junior forward, hit a 3-pointer with 4:14 to go in the first half to give the Pirates had a 34-24 lead, their largest of the game. Eastern Mennonite recovered and trailed, 39-37, at halftime.
OF LOCAL NOTE . . . The Palo Alto National Junior Basketball (NJB) 6th grade girls' All-Net team won the NorCal championships and will be traveling to Anaheim in two weeks to represent Palo Alto in the national tournament. The team is the only one from the Palo Alto chapter to qualify for the finals out of all teams grades 5th through 8th. The championship game had the Palo Alto All-Net girls beating the 6th grade team from the Foothill chapter, 46-30. Both teams were tied for first place during the regular league season. When the two teams met during the regular season, Palo Alto won by two points in a see-saw game. The first half of Sunday's championship game looked like a repeat of that previous contest. The teams were tied at halftime, 27-27. Things changed in the second half when Palo Alto's pressure defense produced a flurry of turnovers and easy buckets to blow open a tight game. Palo Alto's 46 points was its highest total of the season. The game also produced Palo Alto's best shooting outing of the year, led by guards Madison Atwater's and Ellie Chen's three-point bombs. Alexis Harris, Annie Vesey and Siggi Bengston dominated the boards while keeping Foothill from getting any cheap baskets and helping to maintain Palo Alto's lead. Lisa Hao's and Coco Lovely's speed and agility helped to tire out the Foothill girls in the end. Other team members included Jacey Pederson and Archer Olson. . . . The Palo Alto Knights will hold registration for the 2010 season on Saturday at the Palo Alto High football field parking lot from noon until 3 p.m. Players age 5-15 are eligible to compete and can register in person or at www.paknights.com. Practice starts in August.