The West Bay Athletic League boys' basketball race held true to form as all the favorites claimed victories on Tuesday night. However, not all were blowouts.
Sacred Heart Prep barely hung on to first place with a 58-57 victory over host Harker. Fortunately for the Gators (9-0, 11-8), it didn't take a last-second shot to win.
"Luckily, no," said SHP coach Tony Martinelli. "We were up four and they hit a 3 as time expired. We were lucky to get out of there with a win, though. Unfortunately, we had a really slow start again, especially on the defensive end."
The Gators fell behind by 22-12 after one period and had to rally. Making only three of six from the free-throw line didn't help SHP, either, as it bounced back from Saturday's nonleague loss at Menlo-Atherton that snapped a nine-game win streak..
"Harker got everything they wanted in the first quarter and we had to spend the next three quarters erasing the deficit," Martinelli explained. "At some point a team is going to make us pay for starting games this way."
The Gators, however, did not pay for their mistakes on this night as seniors Mason Randall and Andrew Daschbach each scored 15 points to help bring SHP out of its hole while maintaining a one-game lead over second-place Pinewood.
In Hillsborough, Pinewood remained within reach of the top spot following a 67-39 triumph over host Crystal Springs. The Panthers (8-1, 12-7) had 10 players score, led by senior Ryan Knotts with 14 points and six rebounds. Matthew Peery added 11 points plus six assists and Nathan Beak finished with 11 points. A 22-8 first quarter got Pinewood rolling.
In Portola Valley, host Priory got 32 points from senior Scotty Harris in a 73-63 overtime victory over Eastside Prep. The visitors held a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter, which saw Priory outscore the Panthers, 23-9, and send the game to overtime when Harris hit a buzzer-beating shot
"We started sharing the ball," Priory coach David Moseley said of the comeback.
Moseley pointed out the contribution of Zach Weiss, who picked up the Panthers when he was in the game.
Priory (5-4, 9-5) also got 21 points and close to 20 rebounds from 6-foot-9 Emmanual Ajankau-Makun, in addition to 11 points from 6-6 Ayo Aderoboye. Eastside Prep (2-7, 10-8) was led by junior Aaron Cason's 23 points. Isaiah East and Daryl Carr each added 11 points for the Panthers.
In Atherton, host Menlo School made it a two-way tie for third place by holding off visiting King's Academy, 46-34. The Knights (5-4. 7-12) got another standout performance from senior Jared Lucian, who had 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and five rebounds. Sophomore JH Tevis collected 11 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists. Senior Ben Simon added seven points for four assists for Menlo, which held King's Academy to just three second-period points as the Knights took a 21-15 halftime lead.
Palo Alto remained in second place, a half-game behind idle Los Gatos, following a 48-37 SCVAL De Anza Division victory over Saratoga at Gunn High. The Vikings improved to 6-2 in league (13-6 overall) while avenging an earlier loss to the Falcons.
"Defensive pressure on the ball and offensive rebounds were the keys to the win," said Paly coach Scott Peters. "Fullcourt defense bothered Saratoga all night."
Paly grabbed a 28-19 halftime lead and pulled further ahead with a 15-7 advantage in the third period. Paly got 17 points from 6-3 Alexis Harris, who helped dominate the offensive boards. Lauren Koyama added 10 points for the Vikings, who continued to struggle at the free-throw line while making just three of 15 attempts.
In another SCVAL De Anza Division game, Gunn (3-5, 12-7) handed host Wilcox (3-5, 10-10) a 62-50 defeat as Archer Olson scored 23 points and Chloe Gong added 11. Olson was active and accurate from the free-throw line where she made 11 of 12. She also had five rebounds. Tiazha Jackson finished with 10 boards and eight points with Georgia Hake adding nine points and seven rebounds.
In the WBAL Foothill Division, Ma'ata Makoni and Riley Hemm each tallied 12 points in pacing host Sacred Heart Prep to a 47-34 victory over Castilleja. SHP improved to 3-3 in league and 14-4 overall while Castilleja dropped to 0-6 and 8-11.
Both teams scored just six points in the first quarter before SHP held Castilleja to single-digit scoring over the next two periods to pull away.
For Castilleja, senior co-captain Ellie Chen scored her 1,000th career point while finishing with a game-high 19. Chen, who entered the game with 999 career points, added eight rebounds and three assists. Junior Cate Alder scored 10 for Castilleja.
Chen, a 5-6 point guard, is the sixth player in school history to reach 1,000 points, joining Mika Peterman ('05), Ericka von Kaeppler ('09), Eve Zelinger ('10), Natasha von Kaeppler ('11), and Paige Vermeer ('15). Chen is second all-time to Zelinger in 3-pointers and holds the ongoing school record of 23 consecutive games with a 3-pointer.
In nonleague action, Sam Erisman tossed in 16 points to pace host Menlo School (16-4) to a 57-19 romp over King's Academy. Ally Stuart added 10 points for Menlo, which grabbed a 24-5 first-quarter lead and cruised from there.