With junior Stephanie Allen tossing in 12 points, the Palo Alto girls' basketball team made its final tuneup before opening league play by winning the Susie Nagpal Saratoga Shootout with a 54-31 victory over Prospect on Friday night.
Allen, who scored 13 points in an opening-round win over Saratoga, was named Most Valuable Player of the two-round tournament as the Vikings improved to 7-2.
Paly got off to a 23-13 halftime time and outscored Prospect in the fourth quarter, 18-7.
"It was a good team victory over Prospect," said Paly coach Scott Peters. "Stephanie Allen is improving every game as our point guard with her decision making and dribble penetration. When Stephanie is going well, our team really takes off and plays at a higher level."
Peters also liked the contribution he got from junior Anne Susco, who scored 12 points in the first round and also was named to the all-tournament team.
"She earned that by her defensive efforts and her offensive rebounding and all around hustle," Peters said. "Anne is setting a great example of how we want our team to play -- great passion and energy."
Palo Alto also got a standout defensive effort from 6-foot-2 Josie Butler, who had seven blocks and "changed a number of other shots and is such a factor on defense," said Peters, who also got seven points out of his post player.
"Sam Borsos played with a lot of energy and had her best game defensively as well as offensively (eight points)," Peters said. "Charlotte Alipate had six steals and her defense has shown tremendous improvement.
"The team is starting to come together, with a different player stepping up each night to make a contribution. I think this allows our top players such as Emilee Osagiede and Linsday Black to relax and play their game knowing that they have teammates that are contributing to each victory and they don't have to do by themselves. "
Palo Alto will open defense of its SCVAL De Anza Division title on Tuesday against visiting Lynbrook. After a road game against Mountain View on Friday, the Vikings will host Gunn on Jan. 11 in the first of two crucial regular-season matchups.
In Antioch, Eastside Prep (6-8) dropped a 57-27 decision to Oak Ridge in the consolation finals of the Gold Division at the West Coast Jamboree on Friday at Deer Valley High.
In San Jose on Saturday, Castilleja lost a 56-50 contest against Santa Teresa in the consolation finals of the Dons Club Holiday Tournament at Del Mar High.
The Gators (5-6) trailed by as many 17 in the second half, but outscored the Saints by 22-11 over the final 11 minutes of the contest to lose by six. Castilleja twice pulled to within seven early in the fourth, but Santa Teresa answered each Gator bucket to keep the margin at three possessions.
Olivia Nicholls and Riya Modi each finished with a team-high 11 points along with seven boards for Castilleja while Modi dished a season-high eight assists. Junior Lauren Rantz, fresh off her triple-double in the previous game, tallied eight points, nine rebounds and five blocks while freshman Yasmeen Afifi led Castilleja off the bench with 10 boards.
Palo Alto had two medalists and finished 38th out of 97 schools at the 2011 Sierra Nevada Classic that concluded its two-day run on Thursday at the Reno Livestock Center. Seven states were represented.
Paly finished as the No. 2 team from the Central Coast Section, trailing only Bellarmine, which took 33rd. Palma was 40th, Alisal took 59th and Los Gatos was 78th.
"Over the two days, we wrestled pretty well," said Paly coach Dave Duran. "We were missing a few of our point scorers - out with illness. Still, this was our best finish up here in a few years.
"All of the boys did a good job competing - all recorded wins and put points on the board for the team. This is a meat grinder of a tournament (much tougher than CCS) with many quality wrestling programs. For five of our 10 wrestlers, this was their first time participating in an event this large - they did a good job."
Paly senior Kalen Gans, seeded fifth, finished fourth at 170 pounds and Nick Ortiz, seeded 12th, took seventh at 132 pounds while finishing as the Vikings' medalists. Gans pinned his first three opponents and was 4-0 before suffering his first loss. He finished 5-2. Ortiz also went 5-2, taking seventh with a pin.
Palo Alto will open its SCVAL De Anza Division season by hosting Gunn on Thursday.