The Gunn and Palo Alto girls' basketball teams took their recent successes to end 2010 into the 2011 season by opening SCVAL De Anza Division play with solid victories on Wednesday.
With 6-foot-1 junior post Cat Perez scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds, Gunn opened its division season with a solid 58-50 victory over visiting Los Gatos. The Titans (1-0, 9-2), who finished second in their bracket at the KSA Classic in Orlando, Fla., before taking a break for the holidays, also got 11 points seven steals, three rebounds and three assists from freshman Zoe Zwerling.
Gunn sophomore point guard Claire Klausner added nine points and four rebounds while junior Julia Maggioncalda had nine points, six steals and four rebounds. Emily Redfield contributed eight points, five rebounds and three steals for Gunn, which trailed by 24-23 at halftime but pulled away in the third quarter with a 21-5 advantage helped by a 16-1 run.
Gunn went into the fourth with a 44-29 lead and with a little over four minutes left, led 54-35 before Los Gatos went on a 15-0 run to close it to 54-50 with 37 seconds left. Fortunately for Gunn, Redfield made two free throws with 29 seconds remaining and Zwerling made two with 22 seconds left to ice the game.
"We made some good adjustments at half," said Gunnn coach Sarah Stapp. "However, we have to close games out stronger. We played about 14 minutes of good basketball tonight and that won't cut it in the De Anza League."
The Titans are considered one of the top teams in the De Anza Division, but Stapp knows most games will be a battle as Gunn sports a team with no seniors and only two active juniors.
"Teams are going to be coming after us," said Stapp. "We are young and there are many veteran teams in this league who are going to be a battle every time we play."
Palo Alto, meanwhile, which won the consolation title in the Jade Division at the West Coast Jamboree last week, got 15 points from senior Sydney Davis and 10 from junior Emilee Osagiede in a 40-31 victory over visiting Lynbrook on Wednesday night.
The Vikings (1-0, 8-3) got under way slowly and held just a 3-0 lead after one quarter. A few steals and converted points made it 17-5 at halftime. Lynbrook climbed back into the game with seven points in the first 36 seconds of the third quarter, but Paly settled down and held an 8-10 point lead the rest of the way. Josie Butler, Lindsay Black and Stephanie Allen were credited with solid defensive efforts for Paly.
In Atherton, visiting Sacred Heart Prep remained perfect at 7-0 with a 33-24 nonleague win at Menlo-Atherton. The Gators held the Bears to single-digit scoring and pulled away with a 10-point lead after one quarter. Melissa Holland and Erin Sheridan each tallied 13 points to lead SHP.
A few miles away at Menlo School, the Knights (10-3) got a huge game of 31 points and 16 rebounds from sophomore Drew Edelman in a 66-37 nonleague win over visiting Woodside. Freshman Maddy Price added 12 points, four assists and three steals for tghe Knights while senior Whitney Hooper contributed 11 points with freshman Maddie Huber pulling down 11 rebounds.
Menlo School got its record back to .500 after opening the West Bay Athletic League season with a 42-31 victory over visiting King's Academy. Mac Osborne made a trio of three-pointers and finished with 12 points to lead the Knights (1-0, 5-5) in the defensive struggle. Menlo held the visitors to just 10 points in the second half. Richard Harris pulled down 10 rebounds and added eight points for Menlo.
Priory got it West Bay Athletic League season off to a great start Wednesday afternoon with a 3-1 win at Menlo School. Freshman Austin Mirabella got things started with a goal in the first half from a nice through ball from Senior captain Evan Filipczyk. Priory senior captain Guillermo Talancon scored midway through the second half, after junior Jake Seawick laid the ball off for him behind the defense.
Priory had many scoring chances during a second half that saw the Panthers thoroughly dominate play, getting a couple shots off the post and crossbar. Finally, Evan Filipczyk put the game away with an unassisted goal late in the game.
In another WBAL opener, Eastside Prep rallied from an early deficit to pull out a 4-2 victory over host Crystal Springs on Wednesday. After the Gryphons grabbed a quick lead, the Panthers got the equalizer from Juan Jimenez on a rebound off a shot by Christian Rosales. Oscar Estrada made it a 2-1 match for Prep early in the second half off an assist from Jimenez.
Crystal converted a penalty kick moments later for a 2-2 tie, but Hector Lopez put the Panthers on top for good with a goal assisted by Jimenez. Rosales capped the scoring by chasing down a rebound and scoring as Eastside Prep improved to 3-3-1 overall.
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep kept its season perfect after six matches by racing past visiting Pinewood, 9-0, to open the WBAL season on Wednesday. Brendan Spillane provided the eventual winning goal in the first half off an assist from Isaac Polkinhorne, who scored twice himself in the first half as the Gators (1-0, 6-0) grabbed a 6-0 lead. Joseph Bolous scored three times and added one assist while Polkinhorne had two goals and two assists.
In SCVAL De Anza Division openers, Palo Alto rolled to a 4-1 victory over host Saratoga while Gunn dropped a 5-0 decision to host Los Altos.
Paly (1-0, 5-2-1) got goals from Skyler Felt and Tony Panayides (both assisted by John Richardson) in the first half while taking a 2-1 lead. Richardson and Mark Raftrey added goals in the second half, both assisted by Zac Hummel.
After an up-and-down preseason, Palo Alto took a positive step forward to open its SCVAL De Anza Division season with a 2-0 victory over visiting Homestead on Wednesday.
The Vikings (1-0, 4-4) got the eventual winning goal in the seventh minute after being awarded a corner kick. Senior Gracie Cain took the corner and placed it high over the Homestead keeper, with Paly teammate Helen Butler charging in to convert a header. In the 31st minute, Cain took a pass and played it to junior Lily Seedman, who took a shot from about 35 yards out that eluded the keeper's reach and found the top right side of the net.
At Gunn, the Titans opened their SCVAL De Anza Division season with a 1-1 deadlock with Los Altos on Wednesday. After the teams battled to a scoreless first half, the Titans (0-0-1, 5-1-2) fell behind with 10 minutes to play. Gunn rallied to get the equalizer with a goal from Alyssa Perrault on an assist by Sarah Robinson.