Any team taking the floor against the Pinewood boys' basketball team this season had better be in good shape because they're in for a footrace.
The Panthers like to run and press and run some more, which was evident in an 81-54 nonleague victory over visiting Menlo-Atherton on Wednesday night.
After holding just a 17-16 first-quarter lead, the Panthers clamped down defensively and began forcing some of the 27 M-A turnovers for the game. Pinewood scored points over the second and third quarters to leave the Bears gasping by game's end.
When Pinewood won the Redwood Classic to open the season, the Panthers averaged 81 points over a four-game stretch.
On Wednesday, Pinewood (8-1) took advantage of the Bears missing starting guard Miles Weiss by concentrating on Bears' scoring leader Ian Proulx. After scoring six points in the first quarter to keep his team in the game, Proulx was held scoreless thereafter and finished just three of 11 from the floor.
Senior Bradley Naumann led Pinewood with 18 points, three steals and two assists while senior Solomone Wolfgramm added 15 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. The Panthers also got 16 points, eight steals and three assists from senior Dante Fraioli as Pinewood forced 27 turnovers by the Bears (4-2) in the fast-paced game. Dominic Tully, a 6-7 center, led M-A with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bears inched ahead at 20-19 in the second quarter before the Panthers used a 13-4 to grab the lead and hold a 40-25 halftime advantage. Wolfgramm had 10 points during the run.
Pinewood will be back in action on Friday against visiting Lincoln of San Jose at 7 p.m., while Menlo-Atherton will host Sacred Heart Prep at 7:30 p.m. The Bears will host Urban (San Francisco) on Monday at 7 p.m., before taking a break for the holidays.
Pinewood, meanwhile, is already ahead of last year's pace that saw the Panthers go 7-2 for the first nine games. Pinewood's immediate goal will be the upcoming West Bay Athletic League season. The Panthers went 11-3 last season but will take the favorite's role into their WBAL opener on January 6.
In nonleague action Wednesday, senior Gabor Somogyi scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to pace Priory to a 52-35 victory over visiting St. Thomas More on Wednesday night. Andy Dolezalek and Andy Isopkephi combined for another 21 points for the Panthers (4-0), who outscored the visitors, 36-22, in the second half after leading by only four points at intermission.
In Palo Alto, Gunn opened its home season with a 55-27 nonleague victory over Mt. Pleasant. Sophomore guard Patrick Skelly tallied 15 points to lead the Titans (5-3) while senior Scott Kressie added nine. Gunn grabbed a 29-9 halftime lead.
The Titans will open play in the annual Fremont-Sunnyvale Holiday Classic on Saturday, taking on Tennyson at Fremont High at 11:30 a.m.
Pinewood bounced back from a loss at Salesian on Tuesday and shut down host Overfelt, 59-18, on Wednesday as freshman Marissa Hing scored 19 points and added five assists.
The defending CIF Division V state champion Panthers (3-3) also got 10 rebounds and eight points from Leeana Bade plus nine points and five rebounds from Shani Rosenthal. Pinewood made only eight of 33 three-point attempts, turned the ball over 16 times and shot 31 percent from the field.