By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Palo Alto junior Kalen Gans won his second straight wrestling tournament title by winning the 160-pound division at the annual Coast Classic on Saturday in Scotts Valley.
Paly's Nick Ortiz was third at 125 pounds, teammate Joey Christopherson was fourth at 130 and Trent Marshall finished sixth at 135 as the Vikings grabbed seventh place out of 31 teams in the two-day event.
Gans opened his title chase with a technical fall (26-9) over Dylan Forzani of Salinas and another technical fall, this time over Nate Selby of Liberty, Ore., in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Gans pinned David Nice of Scotts Valley in 3:22.
Gans moved on to the semifinals, where he scored a major decision (12-4) over Oscar Hawkes of Los Gatos. In the championship match, Gans registered a major decision (10-0) over Jovan Villalobos of Alisal. Villalobos is the same wrestler Gans defeated in the finals last week.
Gunn, meanwhile, finished 10th at the Coast Classic with Stefan Weidemann winning the 152-pound title. Teammate Eric Cramer was third at 119 pounds while the Titans' Michael Abramovitch was seventh at 103.
Palo Alto is off the rest of this week but will travel to the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno on Dec. 28-29.
"A few of our state champion football players will be back with us for this tournament," said Paly coach Dave Duran. "Our JV wrestlers have done well filling in at the varsity tournaments - all scoring points."
The Sierra Nevada Classic will be Paly's most difficult competition to date with nearly 100 schools competing from seven western states.
Menlo-Atherton boys' basketball coach Senque Carey could never forget Bruce Swain, his coach during his grammar school days in East Palo Alto.
When Carey, who spent the past five years as an assistant coach at Fresno State, returned home and accepted the opening at M-A, Swain was his first phone call and now helps as an assistant with the Bears.
Riordan's 61-43 victory over M-A in the Merv Harris Classic on Saturday at Serra High in San Mateo may not show it just yet, but the Bears are slowly being molded into the kind of player Carey was at St. Francis High, Washington and New Mexico.
Swain showed Carey the right way to do things and now he wants his own players to learn from the veteran youth coach.
"He's one of those guys, in a tough environment, who is willing to reach out and take you out of a hard situation and gives you something to do, play a sport," Carey said. "He's still an inspiration."
The Bears (5-3) are in a constant learning experience under Carey and he expects it to pay dividends down the road. He wants his players to reach a level like Riordan and he's not making it easy on his squad. The Bears play Sacred Heart Prep in their next game.
"This game is about 90 percent heart, Carey said. "When we don't come out with it, we learn. (Riordan) came out and played with more energy and more emotion than we did and it showed."
M-A had trouble handling the Crusaders' pressure, turning the ball over 27 times. Riordan took advantage by scoring 27 points off of them.
"That's the kind of team we want to be," Carey said. "In the past we've need passive and tentative. We want to be the aggressors and start throwing the punches instead of staying back and receiving all the punches."
Ian Proulx led the Bears with six points. Marquise Tolson added five points and six rebounds.
Riordan, which had held three of its previous four opponents to under 30 points, took control of the contest with a 15-2 scoring run that bridged the first and second quarter.
In other nonleague action, Brandon Willhite had another big game with 27 points and 10 rebounds while helping Priory (5-1) to a 50-38 triumph over Alma Heights. Gabor Somogyi added 16 points and connected with Willhite on a few alley oop plays for dunks.
In Berkeley, Sacred Heart Prep had its second straight poor shooting night from the free-throw line and dropped a 52-48 decision to St. Mary's on Saturday night. The Gators made only 12 of 24 charity tosses. In a win over Valley Christian on Friday, SHP connected on only 12 of 26. Reed McConnell led the Gators (4-2) with 16 points while his twin, Will, added 14 points but missed six free throws. The Gators will host Menlo-Atherton on Thursday at 7 p.m.
At the Fremont-Sunnyvale Holiday Classic, Kyle Riches tossed in 11 points and Pinewood overcame being outscored by 16 points in the second half to post a 48-46 victory over Silver Creek in the second round. Fortunately for the Panthers (7-1), they grabbed a 31-13 halftime lead before Silver Creek roared back with 33 second-half points.
In another second-round game, (Gunn (6-3) was led by senior Matt Redfield for the third straight game in a 34-30 victory over Cupertino. Redfield had 12 points with Taylor Perricone adding eight.
Sacred Heart Prep advanced to the finals of the Half Moon Bay Tournament with a 44-34 win over host Half Moon Bay. The Gators (4-0) had no players in double figures, but did get a balanced effort with four players scoring between seven and nine points.
In Atherton, Menlo School (4-2) dropped a 51-48 decision to Scotts Valley in the finals of the inaugural Menlo Holiday Classic on Saturday. The Knights, still trying to overcome lackluster play following a week of final exams, did make a game of it by pulling to within three with five seconds to play. The Knights, however, made only 20 of 33 free throws. Whitney Hooper had 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the Knights, who will host Heritage High on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
In San Jose, Ausjerae Holland poured in 19 points but Eastside Prep, playing without injured Ahjalee Harvey, dropped a 54-45 decision to Valley Christian in the opening round of the Presentation Shootout. The Panthers have dropped two straight since Harvery suffered an ankle sprain just one minute into the game in a 12-point loss to Mitty earlier in the week.
In Arizona, Hailie Eackles poured in a season-high 30 points and fellow senior Miranda Seto added 20, but it still wasn't enough as Pinewood (3-2) dropped a 79-72 overtime loss to Edison (Huntington Beach) in the opening round of the Nike Tournament of Champions. Eackles made five 3-pointers and Seto added four as the Panthers made 14.