SHP, Pinewood boys set for first-place showdown


The three-way tie in the West Bay Athletic League boys' basketball race is down to just a pair of teams, and that tie will change again on Friday night.

Sacred Heart Prep knocked Menlo School out of a share of first place with a 77-56 triumph on Tuesday night. The Gators (5-0, 13-2) share the top spot with Pinewood (5-0, 11-2), which held off pesky King's Academy, 43-34.

Sacred Heart Prep will host Pinewood on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with the winner grabbing sole possession of first place.

The Gators set the stage for the showdown by romping past visiting Menlo (4-1, 10-4). a 46-21 halftime lead put the game out of reach for the Knights, who were forced into 27 turnovers by an effective SHP press.

"We pressed until mid-third quarter and the score dictated taking it off," said SHP coach Tony Martinelli, whose team held a 38-point lead in the third quarter.

Corbin Koch and Mason Randall each tallied 16 points for SHP with James McLean adding 15 and Conner Moses contributing 13. The Gators, who made nine 3-pointers, have won six straight and 13 of their past 14.

"Rivalry games always lend themselves to being tighter on the scoreboard, but I felt like my guys played loose and were comfortable playing at home," said Martinelli. "It is always a great environment at SHP when we play Menlo, so I was happy that we could reward the fans for coming out and supporting us."

Charlie Roth led Menlo with 18 points and nine rebounds. Tench Coxe drained four 3-pointers for 12 points and Liam Dunn finished with eight. A five-point first quarter put Menlo into a big hole right from the start.

In Los Altos Hills, Pinewood trailed King's Academy by 11-6 after one quarter and 22-16 at the half. The Panthers rallied in the third period by holding the Knights to just six points and the teams headed to the final period tied at 28.

Ryan Brice and Nathan Beak led Pinewood with 14 points each with Jordan Riches adding 12 points and nine rebounds. Pinewood was just 3 of 20 from 3-point range for 15 percent. Brice also had eight boards.

Also in the WBAL, Priory got 30 points from Andy Isokpehi in a 69-34 romp over host Crystal Springs. The Panthers (2-3, 10-4) also got 17 points from junior Scott Harris. A 20-7 lead in the first quarter got Priory rolling to a 36-12 halftime lead.

In Campbell, Eastside Prep dropped a 64-32 decision to host Harker. The Panthers (1-4, 10-4) managed just 13 points in the first half and trailed by 51-21 heading into the final quarter.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, host Gunn got a season-high 30 points from senior Chris Russell in a 70-48 romp over Monta Vista. Junior Alex Gil-Fernandez added 17 points for the Titans (4-0, 10-1), who remained atop the division standings. Gunn grabbed a 24-11 first-quarter lead and blew the game open in the third by outscoring the Matadors, 28-87. Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich added 10 points for Gunn, which has won nine straight.

Girls basketball

Menlo School remained tied for first place in the WBAL Foothill Division following a close 46-43 win over host Sacred Heart Prep on Tuesday night.

The Knights (3-0, 11-3) grabbed a 31-19 halftime lead and had to hold on after being held to just two points in the fourth quarter as the Gators (0-4, 9-7) mounted a comeback.

Mackenzie Duffner tallied 14 points to lead Menlo with Hannah Paye adding 11. Chandi Ingram scored 14 points to lead the Gators, who dropped their sixth straight game.

Menlo will host Pinewood (4-0, 11-2) on

Friday (6 p.m.) in a showdown between the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the division.

In Palo Alto, Castilleja's senior center Yasmeen Afifi made her season debut and the Gators came away with their first WBAL Foothill Division win, 44-39, over Mercy-San Francisco.

Afifi returned from an injury, after averaging a double-double and earning first team All-WBAL (Skyline Division) honors last year.

The Gators took a 17-11 first-half lead on back-to-back treys by Ellie Chen, but the Skippers rallied for a 19-all halftime tie.

Afifi and Paige Vermeer led Castilleja to a 34-27 margin going into the final quarter. Mercy pulled to within 40-39 before Chen and Vermeer sank four last-minute free throws to ice the victory for the Gators (1-2, 8-6).

Vermeer scored a game-high 14 points. Chen totaled 13, including three 3-pointers that moved her ahead of Olivia Nicholls ('13) for third all-time in school history. Afifi scored eight points.

In Portola Valley, host Priory (4-2, 5-3) was blasted by King's Academy, 57-8, in a WBAL Skyline Division game.

The Eastside Prep at Notre Dame-San Jose game was not reported.

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