SHP boys are primed for WBAL hoop showdowns this week


The first two big basketball games of the West Bay Athletic League season are upon the Sacred Heart Prep boys this week, with first place riding on the outcomes.

The Gators are tied for the top spot with Menlo School and Pinewood, all with 4-0 league marks. SHP can grab sole possession of first by beating both rivals at home.

First up is Menlo (10-3 overall) on Tuesday at 7 p.m., followed by Pinewood (10-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Gators (12-2 overall) are coming off three straight road wins, the latest on Saturday in a 68-50 nonleague win over Justin-Siena in the 11th annual Piedmont Martin Luther King Memorial at Piedmont High in Oakland.

Senior Cobin Koch poured in a season-best 34 points to pace the Gators, who have won 11 of their past 12 games.

"Corbin did a lot of good things early to get us off to a good start,' said SHP coach Tony Martinelli. "He was strong around the basket and got to the free-throw line and, when they forced him out to the 3-point line, he knocked down a few of those, too. He was by far the best player on the floor again."

Koch tallied 57 points in the Gators' three wins during the week. He also had 29 rebounds, eight assists and six steals.

"Three game weeks are tough, especially when all of the games are on the road," Martinelli said. "The goal was to win all three and we got that accomplished, but we all know that we are capable of playing better basketball; that is the primary goal for the upcoming weeks."

SHP grabbed a 21-9 first-quarter lead and was on top at the half, 31-19. A 37-point second half kept Justin-Siena at bay. Mason Randall contributed 13 points for the Gators, who made 10 three-pointers.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto will put sole possession of first place on the line this week with a home game against Homestead this Friday at 7:45 p.m. The Vikings (4-0, 13-2) have won nine straight, the latest a 58-57 overtime win over host Los Altos on Friday.

Alex Dees made a pair of free throws with no time left in overtime to lift the Vikings. Kevin Mullin led Paly with 22 points. He had 11 points in the first half as Paly forged a 28-22 lead at intermission. The Vikings held a 51-49 lead with 19 seconds before the Eagles converted a pair of free throws to send the game to overtime. With 55 seconds left in the extra period, the teams were tied at 56.

Girls basketball

Palo Alto will have a chance to grab sole possession of first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division by beating visiting and co-leader Mountain View this Friday at 6:15 p.m. The Vikings (4-0, 14-2) have a bye on Wednesday before hosting the Spartans (4-0, 13-3).

In action Monday:

Menlo School rallied from a 12-point first-quarter deficit, grabbed a 29-24 halftime lead and cruised to a 45-33 nonleague win over Half Moon Bay in the Martin Luther King Tournament at City College of San Francisco. The Knights (10-3) got a combined 21 points from Sam Erisman and Hannah Paye.

In Stockton, Pinewood improved to 11-2 with a 78-55 win over McClatchy in the MLK Shootout at St. Mary's High. It was the Panthers' fifth straight win and ninth in the past 10 games.

Senior Gabi Bade had a season-high 19 points with sophomore Erin Poindexter-McHan adding 12. Senior Marissa Hing and freshman Stella Kailahi each contributed 10 points. The Panthers had 11 three-pointers, with Bade connecting on five. Kailahi led the rebounding with seven with junior Chloe Eackles providing nine points, four rebounds five assists and two steals. Sophomore Akayla Hackson added seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

Pinewood shares the WBAL Foothill Division with a 4-0 mark and is off until Friday when it visits Menlo School. The Knights are 2-0 in league heading into Tuesday's game at Sacred Heart Prep (5:30 p.m.).

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