Gators, Vikings both win at basketball tourney


By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

No matter how you divide it up, there will still be too many McConnell's on the floor to have a fair three-on-three basketball game or some other variation of brothers vs. brothers.

When it comes to the Sacred Heart Prep boys' basketball team, you can't just talk about its 'Twin Towers.' Seniors Will and Reed McConnell may be the Gators' original twins but there's also the matter of junior Cole McConnell, who has been allowed to join his big brothers (by maybe an inch) for shootarounds at the family basket.

"We let him in on everything," said Will, whose father played college football at Dartmouth.

Will McConnell scored 15 points and had eight rebounds to help lead Sacred Heart Prep past Riordan, 47-37, and into the championship game of the Burlingame Lions Club tournament Thursday night.

E.J. Floreal recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds as Palo Alto defeated Aragon, 54-30, in the consolation bracket.

Colin Terndrup added 11 points as the Gators (3-0) meet host Burlingame (4-1), which looks for a tournament three-peat in Friday night's scheduled 8 p.m. tipoff.

Studies on twins have shown a special psychic connection between them, and that they can know what the other is thinking at any given moment.

"He's probably thinking about Burlingame," Will said of Reed a couple of minutes after the final buzzer. The answer will have to wait for another time.

The McConnell trio has a lot of fun playing against the Baloff trio of grad Alex, senior Cal (6-0) and junior Austin (6-4). At least they present some competition on the issue of height.

SHP senior Pat McNamara at least has some height and looks somewhat imposing with his protective mask. Junior Matt McNamara (5-9) might have a problem guarding one of the towers.

As it turned out, despite some sloppiness and miscommunication, the Gators proved they could play just as intense on defense as the defensive-minded teams in the West Catholic Athletic League like the Crusaders.

Heck, on a routine game day in football, Terndrup and fellow senior Tomas O'Donnell figured to score 47 points easily.

Sacred Heart held the Crusaders to 22 percent shooting from the field, including six percent from long range.

The Gators outscored Riordan, 18-7, in the decisive third quarter. The Crusaders never got closer than the final score.

Aldis Petriceks added 13 points for the Vikings (2-1), who meet Jefferson for the consolation championship at 5 p.m. Friday. Max Schmarzo scored 12 points.

Floreal, who also had five steals, had a banner day, shooting 7-of-12 from the field a day after missing six of his 10 shots in the first round. He's averaging a double-double for the tournament to date. Floreal has 24 points and 20 rebounds in the first two games.

Mathias Schmutz had a solid game, with six assists and seven rebounds for Palo Alto, which still awaits its full complement of players from the football team.

Aragon had three players score six points as the Vikings limited the Dons (1-4) to just under 25 percent shooting. They also outrebounded Aragon by a 41-23 margin.

Palo Alto led, 34-13, at halftime.

Girls' basketball

Gunn advanced to the semifinals of the Pinewood Classic with a 66-36 romp over Andrew Hill on Thursday night. The Titans (5-0) will face Presentation in the semifinals on Friday at 8 p.m., with the winner advancing to Saturday's championship game at 4:30 p.m.

Former Pinewood student Cat Perez, now a junior, led Gunn with 16 points and nine rebounds while freshman Zoe Zwerling added 12 points and Claire Klausner had 11. The Titans forced 29 turnovers and had the game under control after grabbing a 16-0 first-quarter lead.

Palo Alto (1-1) will play San Mateo in a consolation game at 3:30 p.m., while host Pinewood will take on Evergreen Valley in a semifinal at 6:30 p.m.

At the Terra Nova Invitational in Pacifica, Castilleja (4-1) got 19 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks from senior Natasha von Kaeppler but little else from the Gators as they dropped a 39-24 first-round decision to Monte Vista (Danville).

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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