The West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) season is barely a week old, yet the race for division honors is already taking shape.
At the top, once again, is Pinewood, which solidified its claim to No. 1 with a 65-35 victory over host Sacred Heart Prep on Tuesday night.
Just below the Panthers is Eastside Prep, which bounced back from last week's loss to Pinewood and beat visiting Mercy-San Francisco, 50-30, on Tuesday.
Moving into the No. 3 spot among the contenders might be Menlo School, which took care of last season's Central Coast Section Division V finalist Castilleja, 50-41, on Tuesday.
Pinewood remains the team to beat, however, and the Panthers demonstrated once again why that's true by routing defense-minded Sacred Heart.
"We still have a lot of things to work on," said Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler, "but this was pretty good."
Pinewood (2-0, 11-3) raced to a 17-8 first-quarter lead and held a 38-16 halftime advantage. Hailie Eackles had 16 points and 15 rebounds while Kelsey Morehead added 15 points for the Panthers, who made 11 three-pointers in 22 attempts in one of their best shooting efforts of the season.
Melissa Holland paced Sacred Heart (0-1, 8-2) with 14 points and six rebounds while Erin Sheridan added nine points.
In East Palo Alto, Ahjalee Harvey tallied 14 points and Takara Burse added 12 points plus eight rebounds as the Panthers (1-1, 9-6) remained a game back of Pinewood in the WBAL race. Freshman Anisha Smith contributed 10 points to the winning effort.
In Atherton, host Menlo School (1-0, 11-3) opened its WBAL season in a big way against Castilleja (0-1, 8-4). Lauren Lete scored 10 points and helped control the pace of the game from her point-guard position. The Knights also got 10 points from Whitney Hooper and nine points and 10 rebounds from Drew Edelman.
Castilleja senior Natasha von Kaeppler was held to just 11 points, but Olivia Nicholls stepped up and led the Gators with 17. Castilleja managed just 12 points in the first half as Menlo took a 24-12 lead.
Castilleja lost starting point guard Riya Modi to a sprained ankle in the second quarter. She left with four points, but did not return. That left an already thin Gators' roster with even less depth, forcing the 6-foot von Kaeppler to do most of the ball-handling.
Castilleja got to within 35-30 and then 47-41 in the fourth quarter, both on three-pointers by Nicholls, but never closer as the youthful Knights were able to hold on.
In Millbrae, visiting Menlo-Atherton got a three-pointer from senior Anna Crookston-Herschlag in the final minute to secure a 40-38 upending of Mills in a PAL Bay Division game. Crookston-Herschlag ended up with a team-high 12 points for the Bears (1-0, 5-10).