On a night when the Gunn boys pulled out a big victory following a thrilling rally, Palo Alto could not do the same and exited the Central Coast Section Division I basketball playoffs.
A team that relies heavily on outside shooting is bound to have a game at some point when shots aren't falling. Unfortunately for Palo Alto, that game came in its CCS opener, and its season is over as a result.
The fifth-seeded Vikings (17-8) shot just 5 of 29 from behind the arc and lost, 69-60, to No. 12 Santa Teresa (14-12) in a second-round game Thursday night at Palo Alto.
"Being a small team and a shooting team, you live and die from the 3, and you're going to have some rough games," Paly coach Adam Sax said. "It's tough to win when you're 5 of 29. We tried to get out in transition, but they did a good job defending that as well."
Senior Kevin Mullin scored 23 of his 33 points in the second half in his final game with the Vikings. But he missed his first eight 3-pointers as Santa Teresa took control early.
The Saints, who were 11 of 25 from long range, took control with a 17-1 run to end the first quarter, punctuated by a 3 at the buzzer by Jesse Reyes. Santa Teresa extended the lead to 38-20 by halftime on another buzzer-beater, this time a putback by Jeremy O'Connor.
The only time Paly cut the deficit to single digits in the second half was on its final possession, and the Saints led by as many as 20 points with 3:15 left.
"They were the better team," Mullin said. "I thought we played extremely hard, but when they're hitting shots like that there's not much you can do."
It was the sixth 30-point game of the season for Mullin, who also led the team with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Justin Hull added seven points and five rebounds and Johnny Rojahn had five points and six rebounds.
Paly will graduate three starters -- guards Mullin and Rojahn and forward Alex Dees -- from a team that started 17-4 before dropping its final four games.
"It's high school -- we're going to end on a loss eventually unless we win a state championship," Mullin said. "So it's tough to go out in the (second) round, but I love playing with these guys. They're awesome teammates, we had a good time, so it was fun. It was a good experience, no doubt."
In San Jose, No. 9-seeded Gunn (20-3) fell behind by 31-20 at the half while shooting about 33 percent with 10 turnovers. before staging a furious comeback -- fueled by a 26-point third quarter -- to beat No. 8 seed and host Oak Grove, 58-53.
Senior Chris Russell came up with some big steals and fast-break buckets during the third period, where the Titans outscored Oak Grove, 26-7. Gunn held a 50-38 lead with 6:13 to play in the fourth period. Russell finished with 17 points with sophomore Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich leading the Titans with 18. Junior Alex Gil-Fernandez added 11 points.
Gunn now advances to Saturday's quarterfinals, where the Titans will face No. 1 seed Bellarmine (14-10) at Foothill College at 6:15 p.m.
Joining Palo Alto on the sidelines, meanwhile, was No. 6 Menlo-Atherton (14-12). The Bears fell to visiting Milpitas, 43-36, in a Division I second-round game.
Menlo-Atherton was just 1 of 12 from the floor in the first quarter and 5 of 25 for the first half. The Bears got to the free-throw line for only six attempts, making four.
Despite its shooting woes, M-A did take a 25-24 lead in the third quarter and trailed by only 30-29 heading into the final period. Christian Fioretti made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 34 before Milpitas pulled away. Senior Ryan Cole led M-A with 15 points.
In Division V second-round action, host and No. 7 Eastside Prep rolled to a 55-22 win over No. 10 Anzar (13-12). The Panthers got 14 rebounds and nine points from Darius Riley and 15 points from sophomore Aaron Cason. Sophomore Isaiah East contributed 10 points.
Eastside Prep (13-12) takes on No. 2 St. Francis-Central Coast Catholic of Watsonville (22-4) in Saturday's quarterfinals at Alma Heights Christian in Pacifica at 1 p.m.
Also at Alma Heights on Saturday, four-time defending Division V champ Pinewood (16-8) will put its No. 1 seed on the line against No. 9 St. Thomas More (20-4) at 4:30 p.m. St. Thomas More advanced with a 52-50 win over No. 8 Summit Prep on Thursday.
In another quarterfinal, No. 4 Priory (14-9) will play No. 5 Alma Heights (22-5) at 6:15 p.m. Alma Heights advanced with a 44-31 win over No. 12 St. Lawrence.
In Open Division action Friday, No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (22-2) will face No. 5 Riordan (15-9) at Santa Clara High at 5:30 p.m.
In Division IV quarterfinal action Saturday, No. 2 Menlo School (16-7) will face No. 7 King's Academy (12-13), a 92-91 triple-overtime winner over North Monterey County, at Kaiser-Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz at 11:45 a.m.
Castilleja and Sacred Heart Prep both advanced in the Division IV playoffs with solid efforts Thursday night.
Castilleja seniors Paige Vermeer and Maddie Tarr made their final home game memorable by leading the No. 7-seeded Gators to a 45-34 win over No. 10 Carmel (19-4). Castilleja (12-13) advanced to face host and No. 2 seed Menlo School (16-8) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 6:15 p.m.
Vermeer and sophomore Cate Alder paced Castilleja to an early 13-0 lead. The Padres, champions of the Mission Trail Ahletic League, closed to within 22-12 by halftime. Tarr and Vermeer dominated the boards and scoring as the Gators extended their lead to 31-19 in the third period. Carmel rallied to within 31-28, but Castilleja's defense then held the Padres to only six fourth-quarter points.
Vermeer recorded her ninth double-double of the season, including 16 points that put her over 1,200 for her career. Tarr barely missed a double-double, scoring nine points and going over 600 career rebounds. Alder finished with 11 points and junior Ellie Chen added nine.
In Atherton, host Sacred Heart Prep (13-12) advanced with a 55-48 win over No. 11 Seaside (10-13). Junior Riley Hemm tossed in 19 points and Chandi Ingram added 11 for SHP, which grabbed a 30-18 halftime lead. Grace Battles and Ma'ata Makoni split 18 points for the Gators, who will play No. 3 Soquel (17-7) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Menlo School at 4:30 p.m.
In Open Division games on Friday, No. 2 Pinewood takes on No. 7 Valley Christian (17-7) at Christopher School in Gilroy at 7:30 p.m. In the first game at 5:30 p.m., No. 6 Eastside Prep (20-4) faces No. 3 Mitty (19-5). At Oak Grove, No. 8 Palo Alto (22-2) takes on No. 1 St. Ignatius (20-4) at 7:30 p.m.
In Division I play Saturday, No. 2 Menlo-Atherton (22-5) will take on PAL South Division rival Carlmont (13-13) at Piedmont Hills High at 4:30 p.m.
2015 BOYS' CCS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
No. 8 Fremont (18-5) vs. No. 1 St. Francis (20-4) at Santa Clara High, 7:30 p.m.
No. 7 Half Moon Bay (24-2) vs. No. 2 Serra (19-5) at Wilcox, 5:30 p.m.
No. 5 Riordan (15-9) vs. No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (22-2) at Santa Clara High, 5:30 p.m.
No. 6 Palma (21-3) vs. No. 3 Mitty (15-9) at Wilcox, 7:30 p.m.
At Foothill College
No. 11 Milpitas (14-12) vs. No. 3 Sequoia (22-5), 2:45 p.m.
No. 7 Salinas (20-5) vs. No. 2 Piedmont Hills (18-6), 1 p.m.
No. 12 Santa Teresa (14-12) vs. No. 4 Homestead (16-7), 4:30 p.m.
No. 9 Gunn (20-3) vs. No. 1 Bellarmine (14-10), 6:15 p.m.
At Santa Clara High
No. 6 Los Altos (11-14) vs. No. 3 Willow Glen (11-13), 2:45 p.m.
No. 7 Santa Clara (14-11) vs. No. 2 Pioneer (21-3), 1 p.m.
No. 5 Los Gatos (13-12) vs. No. 4 Christopher (16-8), 6:15 p.m.
No. 8 Leigh (9-15) vs. No. 1 Leland (20-4), 4:30 p.m.
At St. Ignatius
No. 6 Burlingame (15-12) at No. 3 St. Ignatius (10-14), 4:30 p.m.
No. 10 Valley Christian (6-19) vs. No. 2 Aptos (20-6), 2:45 p.m.
No. 5 Gunderson (13-9) vs. No. 4 Mills (21-5), 1 p.m.
No. 8 Hillsdale (17-8) vs. No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral (13-11), 6:15 p.m.
At Kaiser-Permanente Arena (Santa Cruz)
No. 6 Monte Vista Christian (17-8) vs. No. 3 Terra Nova (18-6), 1:30 p.m.
No. 7 King's Academy (12-13) vs. No. 2 Menlo (16-7), 11:45 p.m.
No. 5 Harker (16-9) vs. No. 4 Pacific Grove (18-5), 3:15 p.m.
No. 9 Carmel (17-8) vs. No. 1 Santa Cruz (20-6), 10 a.m.
At Alma Heights Christian (Pacifica)
No. 6 Stevenson (17-7) vs. No. 3 Oakwood (19-5), 2:45 p.m.
No. 7 Eastside Prep (13-12) vs. No. 2 St. Francis CCC (22-4), 1 p.m.
No. 4 Woodside Priory (14-9) at No. 5 Alma Heights Christian (22-5), 6:15 p.m.
No. 9 St. Thomas More (20-4) vs. No. 1 Pinewood (16-8), 4:30 p.m.
2015 GIRLS' CCS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
No. 8 Palo Alto (22-2) vs. No. 1 St. Ignatius (20-4) at Oak Grove, 7:30 p.m.
No. 7 Valley Christian (13-11) vs. No. 2 Pinewood (22-2) at Christopher, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Sacred Heart Cathedral (14-10) vs. No. 4 Scotts Valley (23-3) at Oak Grove, 5:30 p.m.
No. 6 Eastside Prep (20-4) vs. No. 3 Mitty (19-5) at Christopher, 5:30 p.m.
At Piedmont Hills High
No. 6 Cupertino (22-3) at No. 3 Piedmont Hills (21-3), 6:15 p.m.
No. 7 Carlmont (13-13) vs. No. 2 Menlo-Atherton (22-5), 4:30 p.m.
No. 5 San Benito (19-6) vs. No. 4 Silver Creek (14-10), 1 p.m.
No. 8 Homestead (12-11) vs. No. 1 North Salinas (21-2), 2:45 p.m.
At Oak Grove High
No. 6 Pioneer (16-7) vs. No. 3 St. Francis (10-14), 4:30 p.m.
No. 10 Santa Clara (17-9) vs. No. 2 Westmoor (20-7), 2:45 p.m.
No. 5 Los Gatos (19-6) vs. No. 4 Mountain View (19-5), 1 p.m.
No. 9 Leland (14-11) vs. No. 1 Presentation (10-13), 6:15 p.m.
At Mills High
No. 6 Branham (18-7) vs. No. 3 Saratoga (15-9), 6:15 p.m.
No. 10 Sobrato (16-8) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame-San Jose (12-12), 1 p.m.
No. 5 Gunderson (17-8) at No. 4 Mills (14-11), 4:30 p.m.
No. 8 Terra Nova (13-13) vs. No. 1 Hillsdale (18-8), 2:45 p.m.
At Menlo School
No. 6 Sacred Heart Prep (13-12) vs. No. 3 Soquel (17-7), 4:30 p.m.
No. 7 Castilleja (12-13) at No. 2 Menlo (16-8), 6:15 p.m.
No. 5 Half Moon Bay (20-7) vs. No. 4 King's Academy (21-3), 1 p.m.
No. 8 Monte Vista Christian (19-6) vs. No. 1 Notre Dame-Belmont (11-13), 2:45 p.m.
At Del Mar High
No. 6 KIPP Collegiate (8-7) at No. 3 R.L. Stevenson (10-12), 4:30 p.m.
No. 7 Pacific Collegiate (11-12) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame-Salinas (17-7), 6:15 p.m.
No. 5 Oakwood (13-6) vs. No. 4 Alma Heights Christian (15-7), 1 p.m.
No. 9 GB Kirby (14-5) vs. No. 1 St. Francis CCC (16-9), 2:45 p.m.