Sports

Paly girls wrap up SCVAL De Anza Division hoop crown

 

The Palo Alto girls remained perfect in league and won the SCVAL De Anza Division basketball title on Friday night with a nail-biting 48-45 win over host Mountain View.

The Vikings improved to 11-0 (21-2 overall) with one game remaining while winning its first outright division crown since 2011. Mountain View dropped to 9-2 (18-5 overall) and remained in second place. Palo Alto kept win streak alive at 11 straight.

"We wanted to win league so we got one of our goals tonight," said Palo Alto coach Scott Peters. "We have other goals and we'll attack them after tonight."

With 58 seconds left in the game, Palo Alto junior Coco Lovely came up huge and stole the ball from the Spartans and ran in for the layup, giving the Vikings a 46-45 advantage.

Palo Alto had the ball and that one-point lead with 12 seconds left when Peters called for a time out.

"I was just telling them to stay composed," said Peters. "Take what they give us and move the ball."

The Vikings indeed moved the ball. With three seconds left in the game, sophomore Julie Chandler took the ball the length of the court and scored on a layup despit tough defense from the Spartans. The basket made it 48-45 and sealed the win. The Spartans couldn't get a shot off in the closing seconds.

"I'm very happy," said Peters. "We're in their Senior Night and they have a lot of pride. They played hard and they hit shots and it was a close game. You get a win like that and it was a little intestinal fortitude on our part."

The Vikings got off to a scorching start and went on a 12-2 run to start the first quarter. Junior Alexis Harris scored four consecutive baskets and had eight in the quarter. Palo Alto took the 14-9 lead to end the first.

Sophomore Lauren Koyama got hot and hit a couple of 3-pointers in the second quarter and the Vikings led 24-22 going into halftime. The guard finished with nine points and now averages 2.3 three-pointers a game. Palo Alto went into the half without trailing to the Spartans.

Mountain View took its first lead of the game and went on a 9-2 run. Senior guard Jayme Hughes found junior Serena Smith for a 3-pointer at the top of the key, and the Spartans went up 33-32.

The Spartans went a perfect 10 for 10 on free throws for the night.

Palo Alto sophomore Skylar Burris drove to the basket, made the layup and got fouled. Burris converted the free throw and Palo Alto took the 37-35 lead into the fourth.

In the fourth quarter, Harris scored on a put-back then got fouled. The 6-foot-2 center, who finished with 15 points, netted the free throw and the Vikings went up 44-43 with just over four minutes left in the game.

"She was very active," said Peters. "If we want to compete with the top teams we need Alexis Harris to play."

Palo Alto will shoot for only the second 12-0 league season in program history on Wednesday (7 p.m.), which will serve as Senior Night. Next up will be the Central Coast Section playoffs, where the Vikings will be in line for the No. 1 seed in Division I.

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