SHP boys alone in first place in WBAL basketball race


Sacred Heart Prep's Mason Randall scored 21 points, including four 3-pointers, to help his team to a 60-46 West Bay Athletic League basketball victory over visiting Pinewood on Friday night.

The Gators took sole possession of first place in the league and now lead the Panthers by a game. Sacred Heart improved to 6-0 (14-2) while Pinewood fell to 5-1 (11-3).

"They've been working toward first for a while," said Sacred Heart head coach Tony Martinelli. "When you have Menlo and Pinewood tied with you, getting that distance as we get to a turn here, that's what we're focused on. We're getting to see Menlo and Pinewood in their gyms so we have to play well."

In the third quarter, junior guard Connor Moses drained a Stephen Curry-esque 3-pointer from about 24 feet away at the buzzer and the Gators went up 42-35 going into the fourth quarter.

"I got a great pass from Andrew Daschbach," said Moses, who finished with 12 points. "I wasn't quite sure where I was on the court but the clock said about three seconds so I just let it go."

After the clutch three, Pinewood converted just one field goal in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.

"He's obviously one of our best 3-point shooters -- knocking that down took a little bit of momentum back our way," said Martinelli.

With time winding down in the first quarter, senior forward Corbin Koch sank a 10-foot jumper and gave his team the 13-8 advantage to end the first. Koch got off to a hot start and scored nine of the Gators 13 points in the quarter and finished with 18.

Pinewood wouldn't go away, they made it a one-point game late in the second quarter. Panthers sophomore Matthew Peery pulled up for a 3-pointer at the top of the key and nailed it, making it a 25-24 Sacred Heart Prep lead going into the half.

Senior Ryan Brice took the first lead of the game for Pinewood when he sank a free throw giving the Panthers the 26-25 lead. That got the Pinewood crowd and its players back into the game and a little momentum switch.

Brice had a solid night and finished with 18 points and now averages 15.9 points per game.

The Panthers' lead would only last one minute in the third quarter, then Moses hit a 3-pointer from the corner and made it a 34-31 Gators lead.

The offense was hot and the defense was stout for the Gators to start the fourth quarter. Sacred Heart went on a 18-2 burst including going 9 for 12 from the free-throw line.

"When we're not pressing as much we're going to be able to play the guy that we should be guarding," said Martinelli, who's now won seven in a row. "When we're pressing sometimes we just get back and get the closest guy, so being in our matchups when we got back made it easier to defend guys because they knew what they were doing."

Sacred Heart's Daschbach layed up a shot against the Panthers' defense and made it a comfortable 60-37 lead late in the quarter.

"We just have to build off of this," said Randall, who's averaging 14.9 points per game. "We play good when we're in transition and running. We've got to play good defense and let our offense feed off of that."

The Gators will visit Eastside Prep on Tuesday at 5 p.m., while Pinewood hosts Menlo School at 7 p.m.

Menlo School got a balanced effort and coasted to a 68-39 victory over visiting Crystal Springs on Friday. The Knights improved to 11-4 overall and are 5-1, tied for second with Pinewood.

Against the Gryphons (0-6 WBAL), Charlie Roth collected 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jared Lucian poured in 14 points while Ben Simon had nine points and 11 assists. Liam Dunn added nine points for Menlo.

In other WBAL action, host Priory got 29 points from Andy Isokpehi in a 63-54 loss to Harker. Priory junior Scott Harris was held to single-digit scoring for one of the few times this season as the Panthers fell to 2-4 in league (10-5 overall).

In Sunnyvale, Eastside Prep let a 24-21 halftime lead slip away and dropped a 53-38 decision to host King's Academy. Darius Riley led the Panthers (1-5, 8-5) with 16 points.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto lost its grip on sole possession of first place after dropping a 58-43 decision to visiting Homestead. The Paly boys fell to 4-1 in league (13-3) while having their nine-game win streak snapped. The Vikings are tied with Fremont (4-1).

DeAngelo Blackwell led Homestead with 21 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Mustangs grab a 41-25 edge on the boards. The Vikings shot only 28 percent from the field, including a 5-for-28 effort from 3-point range as the Mustangs concentrated on taking away Paly's deep threat. Paly leading scorer Kevin Mullin was held to just one trey and nine points. Oliver Svirsky led Paly with 10 points.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn fell out of sole possession of first place following a 76-65 loss to host Saratoga. The Titans (4-1, 10-2) are now tied for the top spot with the Falcons (4-1 (12-5) and Monta Vista (4-1).

Gunn wasted a fine 28-point effort by junior Alex Gil-Fernandez, while senior Chris Russell added 16 points. They were the only two Titans in double figures.

In the PAL South Division, Menlo-Atherton pulled away from a close first quarter and blew the game open with a 14-2 edge in the second quarter and rolled to a 50-33 victory over host Woodside. M-A improved to 4-2 in the PAL (10-8) overall with the Wildcats dropping to 0-6 and 2-13.

The Bears widened the lead to 21 after three quarters and coasted in from there. Center Ryan Cole had a big game inside, hitting 9 of 11 shots, often with great feeds from his teammates. He led the Bears in scoring with 18 points and rebounding with five.

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