Palo Alto girls race into tourney hoop finals


The Palo Alto girls' basketball team advanced to the finals of the Susie Nagpal Saratoga Shootout with a dominating 67-45 victory over Saratoga on Thursday night. The Vikings (6-2) will play Prospect for the title on Friday night.

Junior Stephanie Allen paced Paly with 13 points while junior Annie Susco had a season-high 12 points. The Vikings raced to a 25-13 lead in the first quarter, tacked on 20 more points in the second for a 45-24 lead and coasted from there.

In San Francisco, Pinewood saw its seven-game winning streak end in a 47-29 loss to host St. Ignatius in the championship game of the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic. The Panthers (9-4) grabbed an 8-4 first-quarter lead before the Wildcats (9-1) rallied for a 19-15 lead and never looked back.

Pinewood sophomore Leeana Bade led the way with eight points while Jenny Hansen and freshman Marissa Hing added six. The Panthers had a hard time penetrating the SI defense, which physically overpowered Pinewood with its size and strength.

In Watsonville, Meghan Holland scored 17 points and Helen Gannon added 16 to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 55-31 victory over Elliot Christian in the third-place game of the Dan & Martha Price Christmas Classic at Monte Vista Christian. Holland and teammate Amanda Suzuki were named to the all-tournament team.

In Antioch, Eastside Prep pounded the boards for 49 rebounds and played tough defensively to post a 39-28 victory over View Park to advance to the consolation finals in the Gold Division of the West Coast Jamboree. The Panthers (6-7) will play on Friday at at Deer Valley High at 4:30 p.m.

Eastside got 16 rebounds and nine points from 6-foot-3 freshman Destiny Graham plus 14 rebounds and 13 points from 5-9 sophomore Alexis Smith. Charmaine Bradford, another sophomore, contributed nine rebounds, six assists, six points and two steals as the Panthers overcame 20 turnovers. Sophomore Anisah Smith added eight points to the triumph.

In Belmont, Menlo School started quickly and ran away with a 66-34 victory over American Canyon in the third-place game of the Steve Geramoni Invitational at Notre Dame-Belmont on Thursday night. The Knights (7-3) were led by junior center Drew Edelman's 28 points and 27 rebounds.

All-tournament sophomore Donya Dehnad once again was Menlo's inspirational player with eight points and nine rebounds while junior point guard Junior Lauren Lete added 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Menlo had only five players available, due to holiday vacations and injuries.

In San Jose, Castilleja claimed a 55-41 victory over Lincoln (SF) on Thursday night in the consolation semifinals of the Dons Club Holiday Tournament at Del Mar High. The Gators (5-5) got 16 points from Riya Modi and 14 from Lauren Rantz as they pulled away from a 26-26 game in the second half with a 10-0 run.

Lincoln closed the gap to six on two occasions in the second half, but got no closer as the Gators responded with a bucket each time. Rantz helped hold off Lincoln with career highs of 12 blocks and 17 rebounds. Her 14 points tied her career high while her triple-double was just the fourth in school history. The 12 blocks in a game are second only to the school-record 14 held by Ericka von Kaeppler.

Modi added five assists to pass Natasha von Kaeppler for fourth on the school's all-time assist list. Junior Olivia Nicholls added 10 points for the Gators, who will play for the consolation championship against Santa Teresa on Saturday at noon.

In Newark, Courtnie Roache scored 13 points and Tennyson Jellins added 10 and the Menlo-Atherton girls' basketball team held host Newark Memorial scoreless in the third period on the way to a 51-18 victory in the consolation semifinals of the Newark Memorial Tournament on Thursday. The Bears improved to 4-7.

Boys' basketball

With Israel Hakim tossing in 18 points, Palo Alto completed a near-perfect preseason with a 66-44 nonleague victory over host Willow Glen on Thursday night. It was the Vikings' second win over the Rams in the past week, having beaten them in the first round of the D.J. Frandsen Memorial Tournament at Bellarmine last week.

The Vikings (9-1) also got 14 points from junior E.J. Floreal and 13 from junior Aldis Petriceks as they rallied from an early deficit and four-point halftime lead to pull away in the second half.

In West Hills, Menlo School overcame a sluggish start and wore down St. Bonaventure of Ventura in the fourth quarter for a 53-46 win and a fifth-place finish in the 16-team Chaminade Classic on Thursday. The Knights (6-3) trailed by 35-33 after three periods, but a big fourth quarter paved the way for the win and a 3-1 finish in the four-day event.

Menlo senior Richard Harris averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds a game and was named to the all-tournament team. Against St. Bonaventure, Menlo sophomore guard Bobby Roth scored 15 points, including three three-pointers. Senior point guard James Huber distributed the ball efficiently and scored 12 points while playing solid defense.

In Morgan Hill, 6-7 senior Dominic Tully tallied 13 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team after leading Menlo-Atherton to a 39-31 victory over Hillsdale in the third-place game of the Sobrato Tournament on Thursday. The Bears improved to 7-5 by outscoring the Knights in the final period, 18-4.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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