The Palo Alto boys' basketball team got off to a slow start this season while waiting for players to return off the Vikings' state championship football team. Heading into the SCVAL De Anza Division season, Paly was just 6-5 under first-year coach Adam Sax.
Since then, however, the Vikings have healed, jelled and gone 10-1 while taking control of the division. On Friday, Palo Alto clinched no worse than a tie for the league title with a solid 77-56 romp over host Gunn.
Paly senior Davante Adams, who was one of those football players who arrived late and started the season with an ankle injury from his fall sport, is an example of perhaps how ready the Vikings are for the rest of the season after scoring 19 of his season-high 26 points in the first half as Paly improved to 9-1 in league (16-6 overall) with just two games remaining in the regular season. Adams also had 12 assists and seven rebounds.
Palo Alto can win the De Anza Division title outright by beating visiting Los Gatos on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Paly opened a 43-22 lead at halftime against Gunn (6-5, 14-9), which opened the league season 4-0 before losing four of its next six. Sophomore E.J. Floreal added 16 points, all from his post position, and senior Max Schmarzo made a trio of three-pointers to help shoot down the Titans, who got 18 points from Anthony Cannon and 14 from fellow senior Jack Hannan.
"The transition game was very good," said Sax.
In the West Bay Athletic League, Sacred Heart Prep got a combined 41 points from the three McConnell brothers and also clinched no worse than a title tie with a 69-44 thumping of visiting Menlo School on Friday night.
The Gators are 12-0 in league (20-2 overall) with two games remaining. The Knights fell to 6-6 (10-12). Will McConnell tallied 16 points, Reed McConnell had 15 and Cole McConnell added 10 as the Gators pulled away from a two-point first-quarter lead with strong second and third periods. Mac Osborne led Menlo with 13 points while Richard Harris added eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.
In Hillsborough, Brandon Willhite poured in 32 points and Gabor Somogyi added 23 as Priory rallied for a 69-65 victory over host Crystal Springs in a WBAL game Friday night.
The Panthers (4-8, 10-9) trailed by 41-38 entering the fourth period before finally overhauling the Gryphons. Somogyi pulled down 12 rebounds and had three steals while Willhite grabbed eight boards while making nine of 12 shots from the floor. Priory shot well, making 53 percent of its field goals, including a 9-for-18 effort from three-point range.
In East Palo Alto, second-place Pinewood defeated host Eastside Prep, 59-36. Pinewood improved to10-2 (18-4) while Eastside fell to 1-11 (6-16).
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton got 20 points and five rebounds from Myles Brewer in a 65-48 loss to host Woodside on Friday. The Bears (5-5, 12-12) and Wildcats (5-5, 14-9) finished tied for third heading into the league playoffs. Michael Culhane grabbed 10 rebounds and Ian Proulx added 11 points for M-A.