Paly boys have chance to avenge rare hoop loss
to Mountain View and earn share of first place
It was only three weeks ago that the Palo Alto boys' basketball team suffered its most humiliating defeat of the season, a 62-43 setback at Mountain View.
To best put it into perspective, the Vikings rarely lose to the Spartans in boys' basketball or even play them.
Prior to this season, Mountain View competed in the SCVAL El Camino Division since the 2006-07 campaign. The Spartans and Vikings last met in league play in 2005-06, when Paly swept the season series on the way to winning the CIF Division II state title.
Palo Alto did lose to Mountain View in 2008-09, but that team was from Utah.
Thus, revenge will on Paly's side when it plays host to the Spartans on Friday night in a showdown for first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division. Tip off is 7:45 p.m. on a quad night.
Mountain View brings a 6-0 mark (15-3 overall) following Wednesday's 53-41 win over winless Gunn while Palo Alto is 5-1 (15-2) after a 68-47 victory over host Milpitas the same night.
The Vikings need a victory to keep their title defense hopes alive, while a win by the Spartans likely will wrap up a rare De Anza Division crown.
Palo Alto tuned up for its big rematch as junior E.J. Floreal poured in a season-high 26 points and senior Israel Hakim added 15. The Trojans (2-4, 10-8) kept it close at halftime (28-22), but the Vikings pulled away with a 25-point third quarter.
In Mountain View, Gunn (0-6, 6-12) continued to struggle while dropping a 53-41 decision to the host Spartans. Senior guard Shang Yip made four 3-pointers to lead the Titans with 17 points. Gunn actually held a 24-19 halftime lead before being outscored in the second half, 34-17.
In the PAL Ocean Division, Menlo-Atherton took a step backward by dropping a 52-40 decision to last-place Westmoor on Wednesday night. The host Rams had been winless in league prior to the game but held M-A scoring leader Ian Proulx to just two points.
Miles Weiss led the Bears (2-3, 10-9) with 13 points and Dominic Tully pulled down 12 rebounds to go with eight points, but M-A was outscored in the second half by 36-18 to fall into a two-way tie for third place in the six-team league.
In the West Bay Athletic League, Pinewood had 12 players score while holding on to sole possession of first place with a 74-42 romp over visiting King's Academy on Tuesday night. The Panthers improved to 6-0 (15-1) while winning their 11th straight.
Pinewood held King's sharpshooter Mark Petiti scoreless until the fourth quarter and limited 6-foot-11 senior Brandon White to just four points, all in the first half.
Pinewood got 20 points on 10-of-11 shooting, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals from senior Cameron Helvey, while senior Dante Fraioli added 10 points and four steals.
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep pulled away from an 11-point halftime lead and solidified its hold on a tie for second place in the WBAL with a dominating 70-38 victory over Harker. The Gators (5-2, 12-5) began the night in a three-way tie for second, but knocked Harker (4-3, 11-6) out of that deadlock with the victory.
Junior guard Ricky Galliani continued his recent offensive surge with 17 points, giving him 62 over the past three games — all wins. Senior Cole McConnell added 16 points. Perhaps more impressive, the Gators held Harker to just one 3-point field goal and only 14 points in the second half.
In Portola Valley, Menlo School had a solid defensive effort to stifle host Priory, 55-37. The Knights, who held a 24-12 halftime lead, upped their WBAL record to 5-2 at the midpoint of league play and are 12-5 overall.
Senior Will Miller scored eight points and had a strong defensive game while limiting Priory's 6-9 Gabor Somogyi to just seven points. Somogyi averages 16 points per game.
In East Palo Alto, host Eastside Prep defeated last-place Crystal Springs, 33-27, to improve to 2-5 in league (12-5 overall).
Menlo School nearly pulled off one of the biggest wins of the season before falling to unbeaten Mercy-San Francisco, 74-70, in overtime in a WBAL Foothill Division game on Tuesday night.
The Knights (2-3, 11-7) fought back to tie the game at the end of the fourth quarter on a baseline shot by Lauren Lete. Menlo, however, could not hold a four-point lead in overtime as the Skippers prevailed and moved to 5-0 in league (19-0 overall).
Menlo, which suffered its third straight WBAL loss, was led by junior post Drew Edelman with 23 points and 11 rebounds. It was the play of Donya Dehnad, however, that brought Menlo back from a double-digit deficit as she scored eight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 points and eight rebounds for the game.
In Atherton, visiting Eastside Prep got 15 points from Charmaine Bradford and an important cameo role from Hashima Carothers in a 47-31 victory over Sacred Heart Prep.
Carothers injured her knee against Menlo last Friday, which necessitated her being carried off the floor. The injury turned out to be just a strain, which allowed Carothers to play a limited role on Tuesday. She tallied six points while helping out in a 2-3 zone that limited the Gators' three-point shooting.
Anish Smith added 10 points for the Panthers (4-1, 11-9) who took over sole possession of second place while knocking SHP (3-2, 13-6) into third. Meghan Holland made four 3-points and finished with a team-high 14 points for the Gators.
In San Jose, Pinewood (1-4, 11-8) finally got its first victory, a 52-34 decision over host Notre Dame-San Jose. Kelly Doran tallied 17 points and Leanna Bade added 12 for the Panthers.
In the WBAL Skyline Division, Castilleja took sole possession of first place with a 37-34 win over visiting King's Academy. The Gators (4-1, 9-9) were led by junior Lauren Rantz, who scored 12 points to go along with 13 rebounds and five blocks. Freshman Madelyn Tarr led the team with a career-high three assists in addition to a career-high 11 boards. Freshman Yasmeen Afifi chipped in 10 points while swatting a career-high tying three blocks.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto maintained its hold on second place following a dominating 70-38 victory over host Milpitas. Seniors Lindsay Black and Emilee Osagiede plus junior Stephanie Allen all tallied 10 points for the Vikings (5-1, 12-3), who grabbed control with a 25-9 first quarter.
Paly's trapping halfcourt defense sparked the offense as 12 players scored for the Vikings. Osagiede and Josie Butler (seven points) tallied their points in the first three quarters before sitting out the fourth. Black and Allen were very active on the defensive end, using their speed to start the transition offense that led to easy baskets.
In Mountain View, Gunn took over third place with a sloppy 45-44 victory over the host Spartans. The Titans (4-2, 10-5) committed 31 turnovers in 32 minutes but out-rebounded Mountain View, 30-12, to help prevent an upset loss.
The Spartans (2-4, 9-9) held a 40-39 lead with under three minutes to play thanks to a fullcourt press that resulted in an 8-0 run. Gunn rallied behind Cat Perez, who scored the deciding layin and finished with a game-high 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Zoe Zwerling added nine points, three rebounds and three steals for Gunn while freshman Meghan Mahoney contributed seven points and five rebounds.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton fell into a tie for third place following a 52-25 loss to host San Mateo. Senior Tennyson Jellins scored 13 points to lead the Bears (2-3, 8-10), who scored only two points in the second quarter and trailed 27-12 at halftime.