Gunn advances, but Palo Alto does not in boys' CCS playoffs


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.

Girls basketball

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.


Open Division

Friday's games

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.

Division I

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division II

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division III

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division IV

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division V

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.



Open Division

Friday's games

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.

Division I

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division II

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division III

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division IV

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

Division V

Saturday's quarterfinals

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.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Simply Sandwiches shutters in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 9 comments | 3,137 views

More Stupid Plastic Food Things
By Laura Stec | 9 comments | 1,539 views

Operation Varsity Blues
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 4 comments | 1,328 views

Couples: Write a Personal Ad . . . to Your Partner . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,209 views

State Legislature on Housing: Getting the Demos out of Democracy & with it, Accountability
By Douglas Moran | 5 comments | 1,160 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details