Palo Alto girls remain atop basketball standings


The Palo Alto girls wrapped up the first half of their SCVAL De Anza Division basketball season alone in first place following a 56-38 romp over host Los Gatos on Wednesday night.

The Vikings (6-0, 16-2) swarmed the Wildcats (3-3, 12-6) with a fullcourt press and controlled the game from the start, finally taking off the press at the end of the third quarter.

Palo Alto won the battle for loose balls with its hustle and aggressiveness. Junior Alexis Harris scored 10 points and dominated both offensively and defensively. The 6-foot-2 Harris altered numerous Los Gatos shots.

Teammate Maddy Atwater was solid on defense and scored seven points while Lauren Koyama tossed in 10 points. Freshman Carly Leong came off the bench to his two big 3-pointers in the second quarter to spark the Vikings to a 27-16 halftime lead.

Palo Alto will host Wilcox on Friday night at 7:45 p.m. The Vikings hold a one-game lead over Mountain View. Those teams will meet Feb. 13 on the Spartans' home court.

In Palo Alto, host Gunn got 17 points from Olivia Tapia in a 51-48 victory over Los Altos. The Titans improved to 3-3 in the division (6-7 overall) as Archer Olson added 12 points and four rebounds with senior Meghan Mahoney finishing with 10 points and six boards.

Gunn will visit second-place Mountain View (5-1) on Friday at 7:45 p.m. The Titans are tied for third.

In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), Menlo School's Sam Erisman had a career-high 30 points to pace the Knights to a 58-48 victory over host Castilleja.

Hannah Paye and DJ Stine each added eight for the Knights (4-1, 12-4), who grabbed a 41-25 halftime lead against the Gators (1-5, 9-9).

Wednesday's game was a rematch of last season's CCS Division IV final, and it was déjà vu all over again as the Knights prevailed. The 41 first-half points were the most surrendered this season by Castilleja.

Paige Vermeer and Maddie Tarr shot the Gators back into contention in the third period, which ended with Menlo up by 51-43, but Castilleja could get no closer. Vermeer finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and five steals, and Tarr had seven points and eight boards before fouling out. Yasmeen Afifi pulled down 11 rebounds.

In a rare WBAL home-and-home series, the two teams meet again in just 48 hours, on Friday evening at Menlo at 6:30 p.m.

In the PAL South Division, Menlo-Atherton remained in the hunt for a possible title following a 54-26 romp over visiting San Mateo.

In a first quarter where M-A had trouble sinking baskets, freshman Carly McLanahan gave the Bears (6-1, 14-5) a lift when she hit the first of her three 3-pointers in the closing moments.

In the second period, the Bears' defense locked down while senior Naomi Baer had eight of her 10 points to push the M-A lead to 14. In the third quarter, freshman Greer Hoyem had seven of her 13 points to push the M-A lead to 25. Nine Bears scored on the night.

Co-division leader M-A travels to Carlmont for a 6:15 game on Friday.

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