Menlo-Atherton girls off to fast hoop start with tournament title


The Menlo-Atherton girls basketball team is off a perfect start to the season after winning the Sonoma Dragon Classic on Saturday with a victory over tournament host Sonoma Valley, 40-23.

The Bears (3-0) dominated all aspects of the entire game. Offensively, the Bears scored in the paint, driving the lane and from the 3- point line with eight players scoring.

Sophomore Ilana Baer had 10 points and four steals and was named tournament Most Valuable Player.

Defensively, the Bears held the Dragons to six first-half points. Senior co-captain Naomi Baer had six points and two assists and was named Defensive Player of the tournament.

At the Sandi Stober Classic, Castilleja fell to American of Fremont in the championship game at Lynbrook High. The Gators (2-1) started slowly and found themselves down 21-9 in the second quarter. Maddie Tarr brought Castilleja to within 27-16 by halftime with seven second- quarter points.

Paige Vermeer tallied 17 second-half points, but the Gators could get no closer than eight. Vermeer finished with 19 points and Tarr had eight. Ellie Chen, who was named to the all-tournament team, added 10 points and another pair of threes -- giving her six treys for the tourney.

Castilleja played without senior center Yasmeen Afifi, who averaged a double-double last season.

At the Dougherty Valley Tournament, Palo Alto won the consolation title with a 64-51 win over host Dougherty Valley. The Vikings (2-1) jumped out to a 24-10 first-quarter lead with its press and stayed in front the entire game. Sophomore Skyler Burris led Paly with 14 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

Alexis Harris had her best game of the season, scoring 13 points and Lauren Koyama added eight. Paly won the battle of the offensive boards and loose ball.

Paly opened the tournament with a loss to Berkeley as Koyama scored 20 points. Burris tossed in 24 points in a second-round win over Foothill.

At the La Jolla Country Day Tournament, Pinewood finished third with a 3-1 record following a 66-37 victory over Modesto Christian on Saturday. Sophomore Akayla Hackson led the way with 16 points and four assists with freshman Brianna Claros and senior Marissa Hing adding 10 points each. Freshman Stella Kailahi added eight points and nine rebounds for Pinewood, which shot 61 percent from two-point range (19 of 31) and 33 percent on 3-pointers (8 of 24).

At the Ladycat Classic at Marin Catholic, Eastside Prep went 2-1 following a 52-43 victory over Marin Catholic on the final day. Senior Destiny Graham tallied 16 points and freshman Kayla Tahaafe added 12 to lead the Panthers (3-1), who opened with a 56-43 loss to St. Mary's, despite Graham's 21 points.

In nonleague action, Sacred Heart Prep improved to 3-0 under first-year coach Melanie Murphy as the Gators posted a 40-35 win over host Pacific Grove. Riley Hemm had four 3-points for SHP and finished with 13 points.

Meanwhile, Menlo School jumped out to a 31-19 halftime lead and cruised to a 70-37 victory over host Nevada Union. Mackenzie Duffner led the Knights (1-0) with 18 points and Hannah Paye added 16. Sam Erisman and Anna Miller each had 10 points with Miller adding eight rebounds.

Boys basketball

Oliver Svirsky and Kevin Mullin combined for 26 points to pace Palo Alto to a 52-46 nonleague victory over host Menlo-Atherton on Saturday night. Svirsky tallied 14 points and Mullin added 12 as the Vikings rallied from a 24-15 halftime deficit by hitting four 3-pointers during an 18-point third quarter.

That tied the game at 33 heading into the fourth period. Paly (2-0) converted 10 of 14 free throws in the final period to pull away. The Vikings hit eight treys and the Bears (1-2) had six. M-A freshman Bradley Stillman made four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points.

In Atherton, host Menlo School got 12 points from Jack Hammond in a 46-31 nonleague win over Gateway of San Francisco. The Knights (2-0) rolled to a 31-18 first-half lead.

In Boonville, Pinewood wrapped up the Redwood Classic with a 113-57 romp over Valley Christian Academy.

Boys soccer

Sebi Surraco and Philip Petrakian scored first-half goals to pace host Sacred Heart Prep to a 3-0 nonleague victory over Scotts Valley. Sasha Novitsky added a goal in the second half as the Gators improved to 2-0-1. Nikhil Goel assisted on Surraco's goal and AJ Hamer assisted on Novitsky's.

In San Mateo, Gunn (2-0) handed host Serra a 2-1 nonleague loss as Dmitriy Timokhin and Sean MacPherson tallied goals for the Titans. Aditya Ganapathi provided an assist on MacPherson's goal in the second half.

Girls soccer

Jacey Pederson scored on a corner kick by Priscella Bell to carry Palo Alto to a 1-0 victory over host San Benito on Saturday in Hollister. The Vikings improved to 2-0.

At the Burlingame Tournament, Menlo School playhed to a 1-1 deadlock with Saratoga. The Falcons grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute on a goal by Ciara Bowen before the Knights (0-0-2) finalized tied things on a penalty kick by senior midfielder Leah Swig in the 75th minute. Junior keeper Schuyler Tilney-Volk had five saves for Menlo, which out-shot Saratoga by 9 to 5.

In Los Altos Hills, host Pinewood dropped a 2-1 nonleague decision to Pioneer. The Panthers (2-1) fell behind by 2-0 at halftime before Olivia Biggs got Pinewood on the board with a goal off a free kick from Caleigh Page.

At Gunn, the host Titans registered a 1-0 nonleague victory over Castilleja by scoring in the final 30 seconds of the match.


Palo Alto's new coach, Braumon Creighton, made his debut at the 48th annual Peninsula Wrestling Tournament in Half Moon Bay and came away with five champions.

In the girls' division, senior Alexa Austin dominated the field with three pins in her three matches at 126 pounds to claim a title.

Junior Sara Aguilar also won her weight class (189), going 3-0 to win her first-ever tourney title.

In the boys' varsity competition, sophomore Seth Goyal rolled to three wins and a title at 126 pounds and senior Chioke Bryant went 3-0 with three pins to claim an individual crown at 182. Senior James Giaccia, meanwhile, earned a fifth place.

Freshman Nick Ogawa won the 120-pound title in the JV tournament with a 4-0 record.

Palo Alto wound up sixth in the boys varsity division with only three wrestlers competing.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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