SHP boys wrap up WBAL basketball title, improve to 21-2


The Sacred Heart Prep boys have one of the best overall records in school history at 21-2. The Gators also have a shot at a perfect record in the West Bay Athletic League basketball race.

The only question remains is where SHP will be playing next week when the Central Coast Section playoffs begin. In the coveted Open Division or in Division IV?

That question will be answered this weekend at the CCS seeding meeting. The SHP players already have expressed their desire to test their skills against the section's elite squads after the Gators' football team won the CCS Open Division title in the fall.

The Gators already have proven themselves against WBAL foes while compiling a 13-0 record following Wednesday's 78-62 victory over host Pinewood. The win over second-place Pinewood (9-3, 15-7) was SHP's 14th straight victory.

"The focus tonight was to play better than last week and, if we did that, I felt like we could go into Pinewood and win," said SHP coach Tony Martinelli, who won his fourth title in his eight years of guiding the Gators. "The outright league title is well-deserved. We need one more win to finish a perfect league season and then focus on getting healthy and preparing for CCS."

SHP can make it a 14-0 WBAL season by beating visiting Eastside Prep on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

The Gators pulled away quick by outscoring Pinewood 25-13 in the opening quarter, which saw injured Pinewood standout Ryan Brice play just a minute before sitting out the rest of the game.

"Brice was out," Martinelli said. "He tried to give it a go, but it was clear early that he wasn't healthy.

"The key early was scoring inside and running the offense through Corbin (Koch). He was dominant inside for the majority of the game. That allowed us to get into our presses and that really got us going."

Koch scored 18 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, as SHP grabbed a 45-27 advantage. Mitch Martella (12 points), Mason Randall (11) and Connor Moses (10) provided offensive support. Randall had eight points in the opening period.

Jordan Riches led Pinewood with 17 points and Kyle Murphy added 16, 12 coming on 3-pointers.

In the opening round of the Peninsula Athletic League Tournament, Menlo-Atherton led favored Half Moon Bay at halftime before eventually dropping a 45-39 decision on the Cougars' floor.

The Bears (14-11) were on top by 11-8 after one period and 25-19 at halftime. The Cougars (24-1) turned things around after that while holding the Bears to just 14 second-half points. Blake Henry led M-A with 13 points in most likely the Bears' final game of the season.

Girls basketball

Maddy Atwater hit a game-winning basket with no time on the clock to lift host Palo Alto to a thrilling 64-62 victory over Los Gatos to wrap up a 12-0 season in the SCVAL De Anza Division. It is the Vikings' second perfect league season in program history, the first coming in 2011.

Paly was down 14 at one point in the second quarter as Los Gatos hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and shot the ball efficiently from the outside throughout the game.

The Vikings (12-0, 22-2) staged their comeback in the fourth quarter behind Lauren Koyama, who scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. Palo Alto took its first lead since the first minute of the game at 51-50 with under four minutes left to play. From there, it was a see-saw battle with the lead changing hands several times.

Paly was up 62-61 with eight seconds to play when a Los Gatos player was fouled on a loose ball. The Vikings were over the limit so it was a one-and-one situation on free throws. The Wildcats made the first but missed the second, leaving the game tied at 62.

Paly rebounded the ball and advanced to half court, coach coach Scott Peters called a timeout. The Vikings came out of that and ran a play for Atwater, who received the ball in the corner and drove baseline -- shooting a floater that went through the net as time expired.

"One of the most exciting games I have ever coached at Palo Alto High School, overcoming a deficit, trading baskets in the fourth quarter," said Peters. "Great way to end the league season and head to the CCS playoffs."

Also in the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn wrapped up its season with a 46-38 victory over host Los Altos. The Titans (4-8, 7-12) were led by Archer Olson with 11 points and seven rebounds while Georgia Hake added 10 points and two boards. Olivia Tapia finished with nine points and three rebounds for Gunn, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

In the WBAL Foothill Division, Pinewood wrapped up the division title with a 66-36 victory over visiting Menlo School. Freshman Stella Kailahi tossed in 20 points to lead the Panthers (11-0, 21-2), who won their 15th straight. Seniors Gabi Bade and Marissa Hing each chipped in with 11 points. Kenzie Duffner led Menlo (8-4, 16-8) with 20 points with Anna Miller adding seven rebounds.

In the PAL Tournament, Menlo-Atherton defended its No. 1 seed with a 44-28 romp over visiting South San Francisco in Atherton. The Bears improved to 20-5 with their 10th straight win and will face Half Moon Bay in the semifinals on Friday at Mills High at 6 p.m.

The Bears were coming off a six-day layoff and it showed early as South City went up 5-3 in the first three minutes. M-A's Greer Hoyem had seven of her 12 points on the night in the first quarter to help the Bears rally and take a 12-9 lead with fellow freshman Carly McLanahan hitting a 3-pointer to end the quarter.

In the second quarter, the Bears' Sarah Howell hit three of her four 3-pointers on the night as M-A began to extend its lead. The Warriors' Valerie Avila answered back with two 3-pointers, but M-A's defense stiffened -- led by Megan Sparrow, who had 12 rebounds in the game.

After a defensive struggle in the third quarter, the Bears broke the game open in the fourth with seven points from Hoyem and Ofa Sili to put the game away.

Boys soccer

Sacred Heart Prep will have to wait until the final match of the WBAL season to wrap up its seventh league title after suffering a tough 2-1 loss to host King's Academy on Wednesday.

The first-place Gators fell to 8-1-2 in league (26 points) and 12-2-4 overall as King's moved to within two points of the lead by beating the Gators for the third time during SHP coach Armando Del Rio's five years at the helm.

SHP actually grabbed a 1-0 lead on Philip Petrakian's first-half goal, assisted by Josh Lin, but the Gators gave up two scores after halftime. Last year, King's ruined SHP's league season with a victory in Sunnyvale.

Sacred Heart Prep will host Harker on Friday at 3:30 p.m., needing a victory to clinch the title. Should the Gators tie and King's Academy beats visiting Menlo School, the WBAL season will end in a tie between SHP and King's. IF the Gators lose and King's wins, SHP winds up second.

"We are still in the driver's seat," said Del Rio. "We want to win the title. We need to address, and fix, tactical issues, set piece issues, be tougher and play with more gratitude and enthusiasm."

In Atherton, host Menlo School kept its CCS playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Springs. The Knights improved to 7-3-1 in league (22 points) and 9-6-2 overall and remained in third place, two points behind King's Academy. Menlo needs to beat King's on Friday in Sunnyvale (3:30 p.m.) in order to finish second and earn the league's second automatic CCS berth.

Menlo got off to a strong start on Senior Day and was ahead in the opening minutes. Senior captain Jackson Wagner served a dangerous corner into the box, which senior midfielder Chris Strong headed in for his first goal of the season. The Knights couldn't add to their lead and the Gryphons came back into the game as the first half wore on.

The Knights were unable to double their lead in the second half as junior forward Will Chisholm was repeatedly stopped by a strong effort from the Gryphons' keeper. Crystal Springs tied the game with 15 minutes to go when its forward was first to a long ball in the box and headed it over senior goalie Alex Moore, who had a solid game in goal for the Knights.

Menlo knew nothing but a win would do and quickly re-established its lead when freshman winger Dylan Williams found Wagner in the box for a neat finish. Williams nearly added a third a few minutes later only for the goal to be called back for offside.

In Portola Valley, host Priory was missing some key players and dropped a 4-2 decision to Harker to wrap up the season. Senior Sergio Lopez scored both goals for the Panthers (3-8-1, 6-11-1) with Ben Clock assisting on the first and Bailey Marsheck on the second. Lopez finished the season with 13 goals and five assists.

In the PAL Bay Division, regular-season league champ Menlo-Atherton stretched its winning streak to nine with a 2-0 victory over visiting Burlingame. The Bears (11-2, 14-3) got the eventual winning goal in the first half from Mario Rodriguez. In the second half, Jesus Ortega provided an insurance goal.

The Bears will wrap up their season on Friday by hosting Woodside, before heading into the CCS playoffs next week.

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