The postseason has come to an end for the Menlo-Atherton, Palo Alto and Menlo School girls following losses in the opening round of the CIF NorCal basketball playoffs on Wednesday night.
Menlo Atherton saw its season end with a 51-48 loss to host James Logan. The Bears (24-7) came in with the No. 11 seed while James Logan (25-5) was No. 6. With 3,900 students, Logan is the largest public high school in Northern California.
With Sarah Howell and Carly McLanahan hitting threes and Ofa Sili and Greer Hoyem scoring in the paint, the Bears trailed by only two in the fourth quarter. With 12 seconds remaining, the margin was three at 51-48. M-A got off a 3-pointer that missed. The Bears quickly fouled and the Colts missed the first of a one-and-one situation. M-A rebounded with three seconds remaining and got off a clean shot, which narrowly missed.
In the first quarter, the Bears struggled with the Colts' quickness and fell behind 13-4. With five seconds remaining in the first, Sili took an inbound pass, and made a shot at the buzzer from midcourt to end the quarter, 13-7. In the second, senior captain Brittney Deadwiler scored 11 of her team high 17 points and James Logan began to pull away.
M-A juniors Annalisa Crowe and Sally Carlson helped stabilize the defense and the Bears' post play came to life. Hoyem, a freshman, scored nine in the second and finished with 22 points. She finished the season scoring 20 or more points in four straight games. Nonetheless, the Bears were down by 14 at the half.
The third quarter was a different matter as the Bears held the Colts to a basket and a pair of Deadwiler threes. Sili and Hoyem combined for 14 points in the paint in the third. With five seconds remaining, McLanahan pulled down a defensive rebound and passed to Ilana Baer. The sophomore sprinted down the court and drained a running 3-pointer from way outside the arc at the buzzer to close the gap to four points.
In another Division I opener, host and No. 4 seed Palo Alto ended its season following a 55-45 loss to No. 13 Oakland. The setback was the third straight for the Vikings (22-5), who went 0-2 in the CCS Open Division playoffs after winning the SCVAL De Anza Division title with a 12-0 mark.
With Oakland taking away Paly's inside game, the Vikings settled for long-range shots. Sophomore Lauren Koyama did hit a trio of 3-pointers to get Paly to within 33-32 in the third period. Koyama finished with 19 points, 16 coming in the second half.
A pivotal moment in game came in the fourth period with Paly trailing by just 42-40. Paly's Alexis Harris came down with a defensive rebound and tried to pivot away with Oakland players hanging all over her. Harris, however, was called for a foul.
Oakland took possession and wound up hitting a three-pointer for a 45-40 lead.
"That was a big game-changer for us," said Paly coach Scott Peters.
Peters pointed out that Oakland was tougher than most of the teams the Vikings played this season.
"They were just most physical than us," he said. "We were physical enough for the De Anza Division, but for CCS Open and NorCals, we weren't as physical."
Peters promises to change that.
"We'll play a tougher schedule next year," he said.
The Vikings will do so with every roster member returning.
In a Division IV opener, host and No. 5 seed Menlo School failed to score in the final five minutes and was upset by No. 12 Dixon, 48-42.
After winning their third straight CCS title on Saturday, the Knights had hoped for better than an early exit in NorCals. Menlo (19-9), however, shot poorly and was held to just seven points in the final period.
Menlo will return every member of its roster, with the exception of senior co-captain Olivia Ferrando.
In the NorCal Open Division playoffs, No. 7 Pinewood (24-3) will visit No. 2 Miramonte on Friday at 7 p.m.
In the NorCal Division V playoffs, top-seeded Eastside Prep (22-5) will host a quarterfinal game Saturday at 6 p.m.