By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
It was supposed to be a battle of two high-scoring offenses and two pressing defenses. It was supposed to be close, befitting arguably the two best boys' basketball teams in the West Bay Athletic League.
The anticipated showdown between Sacred Heart Prep and Pinewood, however, was pretty much decided in the opening half when the Gators put up 51 points on their way to an 87-71 victory in Atherton on Tuesday night. SHP (3-0, 11-2) moved into a tied for first place with Harker (3-0, 11-2) while Pinewood (3-1, 11-3) fell to second.
"That obviously is a surprise," said SHP coach Tony Martinelli, in his seventh season. "We've never scored that many points in a half since I've been here."
One big reason for the first-half outburst was the hot shooting of junior forward Cole McConnell, who hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, was nine for nine on his way to a 24-point first half and wound up with seven treys and a career-high 27 points.
"Cole shooting like that makes a lot of things we're doing look really good," Martinelli said. "He didn't miss many. It was nice we didn't have to tell the guys that he was hot."
McConnell made his first three shots, all three-pointers, while his teammates took advantage of 10-turnovers by Pinewood in the first quarter. The Panthers ended up with 16 miscues in the first half as SHP grabbed a 51-21 lead.
The Gators made five treys in the first quarter and had nine in the first half, finishing with 13. Colin Terndrup's basket to open the fourth quarter gave the Gators their biggest lead (33 points) at 76-43. Pinewood made a wild charge in the final period with 28 points, but the outcome was decided in the opening half. Kyle Riches led Pinewood with 20 points while Solomone Wolfgramm added 18 plus 10 rebounds and teammate Kevin Sweat scored all 12 of his points in the final quarter while SHP rested its starters.
Tomas O'Donnell was solid in the post for SHP and tallied 12 points. SHP senior twins Reed and Will McConnell each added nine.
Harker maintained its lead with Sacred Heart Prep following a 59-43 victory over visiting Priory on Tuesday night. Gabor Somogyi had 20 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Panthers (1-2, 7-4) from falling. Priory teammate Brandon Willhite added 15 points.
In another WBAL game, Menlo School pulled away in the second quarter and registered a 43-21 victory over host Eastside Prep. The Knights (2-1, 6-6) were led by Jonny Halprin with 10 points while Richard Harris added nine points and six rebounds. Will Miller chipped in seven rebounds and Kyle Bowman added four blocked shots
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto and Gunn are headed on a collision course after both remained tied for the lead with solid wins on Tuesday.
Palo Alto came up with a solid defensive effort and balanced scoring to remain unbeaten in the division with a 65-45 romp over visiting Los Altos. Israel Hakim led Paly (3-0, 9-5) with 10 points, but the Vikings had nine others score. A 23-7 outburst in the second quarter was the difference in the game.
At Gunn, senior Anthony Cannon poured in 22 points, knocking down six 3-pointers, as the Titans remained tied for first place with a 64-59 victory over visiting Homestead. Fellow senior Matt Redfield added 16 points for the Titans (3-0, 11-4), who pulled away from a three-point halftime lead with a third-quarter outburst.