The Pinewood girls had the number of Eastside Prep last season as coach Doc Scheppler's team topped coach Donovan Blythe's squad three times -- twice during the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) schedule and again in the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs.
Eastside Prep, however, sort of had the last laugh as the Panthers reached the CIF Division V state championship game -- losing to La Jolla Country Day by four points -- while Pinewood was eliminated in the opening round of the NorCal Open Division playoffs.
The two teams of Panthers will renew their rivalry on Friday in Los Altos Hills (6:30 p.m.) in the first of two WBAL meetings this season after both posted solid road victories on Tuesday night.
Pinewood (2-0, 10-2) jumped out to an 18-5 first-quarter lead and cruised to a 76-19 win over host Castilleja. Akayla Hackson and Brianna Claros led the way with 12 points each as 10 players scored.
Castilleja (0-1, 7-5) was held to single-digit scoring in each quarter. The Gators' Ellie Chen managed to sink a pair of 3-pointers, for a school-record 18th straight game with at least one made three, and moved into second all-time in made threes behind Eve Zelinger ('10).
In Atherton, Eastside Prep (1-1, 8-6) bounced back from a division-opening loss to Menlo School and held off host Sacred Heart Prep, 51-43. The Panthers outscored the Gators (0-1, 11-2) by 12-1 in the final quarter. Sophomore Kayla Tahaafe led Eastside Prep with 17 points with freshman Zion Gabriel knocking down four 3-pointers and finishing with 15 points. Riley Hemm led SHP with 11.
Menlo, meanwhile, got 27 points from junior Sam Erisman pouring in a 68-25 victory over visiting Notre Dame-San Jose. The Knights (2-0, 11-3) got eight points apiece from Hannah Paye and De'Jean Stine while tuning up for Friday's showdown with rival Sacred Heart Prep (6 p.m.) in the Knights' gym.
In WBAL Skyline Division action, Priory got 17 points and four rebounds from sophomore Tatiana Reese in a 46-34 victory over visiting King's Academy. Gabby Ruiz finished with 12 points and nine rebounds and freshman Ila Lane added 10 points and five boards. Sam McCabe contributed seven points and five rebounds as the Panthers improved to 1-1 in league (6-5 overall).
In SCVAL De Anza Division action, Palo Alto struggled offensively once again and dropped a 42-39 division to host Saratoga. The Vikings (1-2 (8-5) held an 18-13 halftime lead before the Falcons (2-1, 11-4) pulled away in the second half. Coco Lovely had 11 points to led Paly.
In Palo Alto, host Gunn (1-2) got its first league win with a 69-53 romp over Wilcox. Archer Olson led the Titans with 22 points with fellow junior Georgia Hake adding 18. Olson also grabbed nine rebounds and had four assists with Hake finishing with seven boards and six assists.
It looked like Pinewood was going to be in for a long season when the Panthers got off to a 3-5 start under coach Ola Dean. At that point, Dean reportedly resigned and was replaced by Jason Peery, who had coached Pinewood to a pair of CCS titles years earlier.
With Peery in charge, the Panthers have yet to lose. Pinewood won its third straight under Peery and recorded its most impressive victory of the season with an 82-50 blowout of host Harker on Tuesday night in WBAL action.
The Panthers (3-0, 6-5) trailed by 39-33 at halftime, but blew the game open with a 36-6 advantage in the third period. Pinewood's defense then allowed just five points in the fourth quarter. Kyle Murphy led the way with 20 points with fellow seniors Nathan Beak and Ryan Knotts adding 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Sacred Heart Prep, which will visit Pinewood next Tuesday, kept pace with the Panthers by rolling to a 65-52 victory over visiting King's Academy. It was a two-point game at halftime before the Gators (3-0, 4-7) pulled away in the third period, 18-7. Connor Moses led the way with 15 points and Andrew Daschbach finished with 13. SHP overcame a cold night at the free-throw line, where the Gators made only 15 of 24 attempts.
In Portola Valley, JH Tevis tipped in a shot at the buzzer and Menlo School prevailed, 48-46, over host Priory in WBAL action. Menlo senior Jared Lucian picked up 16 points and fellow senior Charlie Roth managed to pull down 12 rebounds for the Knights (2-1, 4-9). Scott Harris led the Panthers (1-2, 5-3) with 29 points.
The teams engaged in a tug-of-war throughout most of the second and third quarters. The Knights took the lead in the fourth and Priory caught up several times to tie.
"It was an ugly fourth quarter, but they did a great job and never lost the lead in the fourth," Menlo coach Keith Larsen said.
In Hillsborough, Eastside Prep (1-2, 7-3) posted a 44-25 victory over host Crystal Springs.