For the past five years, very little has separated the Pinewood and Eastside Prep girls during the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) regular season as both teams are 5-5 against each other.
Pinewood went 2-0 against Eastside Prep last season while the record was reversed in 2013. The three previous seasons, the teams split during the regular season.
The annual struggle between the teams will continue on Friday night when Pinewood hosts Eastside Prep in the first of two regular-season showdowns at 6:30 p.m.
Both teams tuned up for the battle with victories on Tuesday night to open their WBAL Foothill Division campaigns.
In Los Altos Hills, Pinewood posted a 72-27 blowout win over Notre Dame-San Jose. The Panthers (1-0, 7-2) had 11 players score, with junior Chloe Eackles leading the way with 13 points with freshman Stella Kailahi adding 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior Marissa Hing contributed nine points and five assists after scoring just two points in a loss to Miramonte on Saturday. Pinewood knocked down 13 three-pointers in the easy win as the Panthers rolled to a 26-2 first-quarter lead.
In East Palo Alto, Eastside Prep raced to a 39-20 halftime lead before holding off pesky Sacred Heart Prep, 64-59. Freshman Kayla Tahaare led the Panthers (1-0, 11-2) with 16 points.
Destiny Graham added 15 points and 13 rebounds. with fellow seniors Brije Byers and Chaccity Cunningham finishing with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Byers and Cunningham had back-to-back steals in the fourth quarter to give Eastside Prep a 55-40 lead, but the senior-less Gators (0-1, 9-3) made a late rally behind Natalie Zimits (12 points) and junior Riley Hemm (25 points) and got to within 62-57 with under two minutes to play.
SHP, however, got to the free-throw line for only three attempts (making one) while Eastside Prep was 13 of 18.
In WBAL Skyline Division action, Priory (0-1, 2-1) got 34 points from freshman Taiana Reese in a 68-46 loss to host Harker. Reese is averaging 36.3 points a game.
Getting 17 points from senior Kevin Mullin, Palo Alto opened its SCVAL De Anza Division season with a 58-44 victory over visiting Fremont on Tuesday night.
The Vikings (1-0, 10-2), coming off a title at the Windsor Tournament last week, won their sixth straight as a 22-point second quarter propelled them 35-20 halftime lead. Mullin, who was the Most Outstanding Player in last week's tourney, had a trio of treys plus six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Oliver Svirsky added 11 points with Justin Hull contributing eight rebounds plus five points.
In Santa Clara, Gunn opened its SCVAL El Camino Division season with a 48-45 victory over Santa Clara. Junior Alex Gil-Fernandez led the Titans (1-0, 7-1) with 16 points with David Lee-Heidenreich adding 12. The teams were tied at halftime, 26-26, before Gunn pulled away in the third period.
In the WBAL, defending co-champ Sacred Heart Prep opened its league season with a solid 64-58 victory over host Priory. The Gators (1-0, 8-2) held a slim 27-26 halftime lead before grabbing a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Senior Corbin Koch, who was named the Most Valuable Player during the Gators' division championship run in the San Diego Surf N Slam tournament last week, finished with 16 points. Junior Andrew Daschbach tallied a season-high 14 points after being slowed in the preseason with a shoulder injury from football season.
Scott Harris, who led Priory to the title at the Don and Martha Price Christmas Classic last week, paced the Panthers (0-1, 8-2) with 23 points. Chris Perez and Sam Ogunleye added 10 points each.
In East Palo Alto, defending co-champ Pinewood also opened WBAL play with a victory, 67-51, over Eastside Prep. It was the first loss for the host Panthers after seven straight wins. Ryan Brice tallied 16 points to pace Pinewood (1-0, 7-2) with Matthew Peery and Ryan Knotts adding 11 each. Jordan Riches had nine points and seven boards for Pinewood, which held a 35-20 halftime lead.
In Atherton, Menlo School got 17 points each from seniors Jack Hammond and Liam Dunn in a 64-54 victory over visiting Harker. The Knights (7-3) jumped out of the gate quickly with a 25-point first quarter. Menlo stayed ahead 38-35 at the half, then pulled away in the third. Dunn and Hammond shot a blistering 7 of 10 from 3-point range. Jared Lucian added 10 and Tench Coxe contributed nine for the Knights.
Palo Alto opened 2015 with a solid 3-0 nonleague victory over visiting Gunn on Tuesday. Ed Chen provided the eventual winning goal in the first half off an assist from Ariya Momoney as the Vikings improved to 4-1-2 while Gunn dropped to 3-4-1.
Brian Tracy (assisted by Chen) and Dami Bolarinwa (assist Wesley Woo) added second-half goals for Paly, which had several near-miss shots before Chen struck a hard shot from outside the box that deflected off the bar with Tracy finishing in the 70th minute.
Palo Alto's defense was solid throughout, giving up only two signficant shots on goal. Junior Reuben Kramer, Preston Kuppe, Steven Blatman, Declan Cassini and Derrick Schoenberg contributed to the shutout.
Despite out-shooting visiting Burlingame by a wide 25-4 margin, host Menlo-Atherton suffered a 2-1 loss to open its PAL Bay Division season on Tuesday. Even worse for the Bears, they saw their leading goal-scorer, sophomore Katie Guenin, go down with a serious injury in the fifth minute.
In the 15th minute of the game, M-A lost possession of the ball on defense when Alexis Prieto of Burlingame picked the ball off the dribble from a defender and lofted it over the head of the M-A keeper to get the Panthers on the board at 1-0. M-A followed up with 11 shots in the first half, but simply couldn't find the net despite a number of good scoring chances.
In the second half, M-A again dominated possession and created many scoring opportunities, but it was Burlingame (1-0, 4-1-2) that again found the net. Gabriella Walker capitalized on one of the Panthers' only chances by scoring from the edge of the box from the left side in the 27th minute to put M-A on its heels, 2-0.
In the 33rd minute, a throw-in from junior Kelsey Reed to sophomore Nicole Salz popped back out to Reed and she converted with a strong shot from outside the box to put M-A on the board. Despite a furious attack in the final seven minutes (and a total of 14 second-half shots), the Bears (0-1, 3-2-1) went down to defeat.
In nonleague action, host Sacred Heart Prep (4-2-1) played St. Ignatius to a scoreless tie.