Sacred Heart Prep boys' basketball coach Tony Martinelli probably thought his team's shot at the West Bay Athletic League was gone following an upset loss to Harker on Tuesday night.
Ah, not so fast. Not only did Harker knock the Gators out of a tie for first place but the Eagles pulled off another shocker Thursday night by upending first-place Pinewood, 51-45.
Thus, Martinelli and his players can earn a share of the WBAL crown by defeating visiting King's Academy on Friday night. Tip off is 7:30 p.m. The Gators take an 11-2 league mark (16-7 overall) into the showdown.
Pinewood, meanwhile, saw its chances for an outright title disappear in its disappointing setback to host Harker. The Panthers (12-2, 20-4) had taken a one-game lead in the race and needed only to win Thursday to claim the crown.
Greg Naumann led the Panthers with 17 points after not playing in the first quarter. Pinewood simply did not come up with enough defensive stops at key moments to prevent the upset. Junior Ryan Brice added 14 points for Pinewood, all in the first half.
In games Friday night, Palo Alto can clinch third place in the SCVAL De Anza Division race by beating visiting Los Gatos. Tip off is 7:45 p.m. The contest marks the final basketball game ever to be played in Paly's 85-year-old gym, which will be demolished in June to make way for a new athletics center.
The Vikings (13-10) could play at least one more time at home, but they would have to win a CCS title to have the possibility to host a NorCal opener.
Menlo School overcame some lackluster shooting and advanced to the semifinals of the WBAL playoffs with a 37-30 win over visiting Notre Dame-San Jose in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.
The Knights (15-10) made only 17 percent (5 for 30) of their 2-point attempts and shot 27 percent (12 for 45) for the game, but still had enough to advance as the Regents shot 22 percent from the field (8 of 37) and 19 percent from 3-point range.
Menlo jumped out to an eight-point led to start the game. Hannah Paye kept the Knights in front by making five of nine 3-pointers and finishing with 20 points. The Knights shot 47 percent from 3-point range. Mckenzie Duffner pulled down seven rebounds and Olivia Pellarin had five blocks for Menlo, which next plays No. 2 seed Eastside Prep on Friday night in a semifinal at King's Academy in Sunnyvale at 7:30 p.m.
In the other semifinal, top-seeded Pinewood (23-1) will take on Mercy-San Francisco at 6 p.m. The Skippers eliminated Sacred Heart Prep, 47-45, in a quarterfinal in Atherton. The Gators (13-12) let an early lead get away and trailed by five at halftime. Riley Hemm led SHP with 17 points.
Menlo-Atherton ended its regular season with a disappointing 3-0 loss to visiting Woodside in PAL Bay Division action on Thursday, thus ruining Senior Day for the Bears.
In the first half, the two sides battled very evenly with each team taking five shots. But, it was a controversial push- from-behind call in the box that set up a penalty kick for the Wildcats in the 35th minute. Senior Giana Rosati hit a perfectly placed ball in the left corner to give Woodside a 1-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Woodside was given another golden opportunity to score when a foul just outside the box gave the Wildcats another set piece. This time, sophomore Jillienne Aguilera headed in the free kick for a 2-0 lead in the 5th minute of the second half.
From there, Woodside took control of the game and continued to pressure the Bears -- outshooting them 5-1 in the second half. The Wildcats scored the third and final goal of the night in the 25th minute of the half when Alex Augulis managed to get a cross off from the right corner that was headed in by Isabella Bascara.
M-A dropped to 6-5-3 (10-5-5 overall) while first-place Woodside improved to 10-2-2 (15-2-3 overall) in league play. The Bears must now wait until Saturday to determine if they will earn a bid to the Central Coast Section playoffs.