It was another big night for local basketball teams in the CIF State Basketball Championships, where six of seven squads advanced to regional semifinal games following impressive quarterfinal victories on Saturday night.
Moving on for the boys was Menlo-Atherton while advancing for the girls were Eastside Prep, Priory, Sacred Heart Prep, Menlo School and Menlo-Atherton. The Priory boys, meanwhile, saw their season end
In Atherton, sophomore center Greer Hoyem had a game-high 25 points to lead the Menlo-Atherton girls to a 71-46 victory over Heritage of Brentwood in a Division I quarterfinal.
The No. 4 seeded Bears improved to 27-4 while fifth-seeded Heritage ended its season 22-10. Top-seeded St. Francis of Sacramento defeated No. 8 Lincoln, 81-36, in its quarterfinal matchup Saturday night and will host M-A on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
M-A has never played in a NorCal title game. It's win over Washington in the first round last week was the team's first NorCal win since 1994.
"I'm very proud of this team," said M-A head coach Markisha Coleman. "We set a goal at the beginning of the season and one of those goals was to go farther than we did last year. This is a very focused group. They love playing with each other so be able to continue our season with a group that love each other, I'm very proud of them."
With just under two minutes left to go in third quarter, Hoyem got fouled on a turn around and converted the and-one play. She sank the free throw and M-A took its biggest lead of the game, 48-37.
In the first quarter, sophomore guard Carly McLanahan drilled two 3-pointers and the Bears had the 14-12 edge going into the second. McLanahan was on fire, finishing with 14 points on four 3-pointers.
M-A junior Megan Sparrow got her first points of the game in the second quarter when she swished home a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. Menlo-Atherton took the 31-29 lead off of the trey going into halftime.
Despite facing a press, the Menlo-Atherton offense kicked into gear in the third quarter as the Bears outscored Heritage, 24-10. Hoyem added 11 of her 25 points in the third quarter. McLanahan, Ofa Sili, and Mele Kailahi also converted their own 3-pointers.
"That's definitely growth for our team," said Coleman. "Earlier in the year when teams would press us we would struggle a little bit. Since we started PAL play, our focus has been to be able to remain calm and handle the press. For us to be able to handle that, it's definitely credit to our girls to sticking to the game plan and remaining calm."
The Bears didn't let up in the fourth quarter, as Hoyem added nine more points for her squad. She made two and-one plays and had a great game in the post. The Bears outscored the Patriots 16-7, coming away with the triumph.
"She's been really good for us all season," said Coleman. "Usually she's a big presence inside, although she had that many points, it seemed like they were taking away the post game and our guards played really well tonight. We have good shooters and tonight we were definitely on."
McLanahan and Kailahi each had 14 points and had six combined 3-pointers.
"We don't really know a lot about them," said Hoyem. "We're just excited about the bus and going to Sacramento. We'll get some film on them and see what we have to do and put in work."
Division IV girls
Second-seeded Menlo School kept its season alive with a 55-43 victory over visiting University of Redding (25-6) in the quarterfinals of the CIF NorCal playoffs on Saturday night.
The Knights (20-7) next will host No. 3 St. Mary's of Berkeley (18-13) in a semifinal showdown on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Menlo came out strong with 24 points in the first quarter against University Prep and cruised behind a 26-point outburst by junior Sam Erisman. However, it was the overall play on defense by Kenzie Duffner and Olivia Pellarin, who held the Panthers' twin towers of 6-foot -6 Shayley Harris and 6-2 Shayla Anderson to just four total points. Harris was scoreless against Pellarin, who produced 11 rebounds. Duffner had seven boards plus seven steals.
That defense, which included 20 steals and 26 forced turnovers, and Menlo's 11 treys keyed the big victory. The Knights had been off since going 0-2 in the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs last week.
Senior Hannah Paye hit all three of her 3-point goals in the first half as the Knights built a 35-22 advantage.
Also in Atherton, No. 4-seeded Sacred Heart Prep rolled to a 72-54 triumph over No. 12 Central Valley of Shasta Lake (19-12). The Gators (21-6) pulled away from a 22-18 first quarter with another 22 points in the fourth period, despite missing 11 free throws in the game.
Sophomore Tatum Angotti led the way with 19 points with Riley Hemm and Grace Battles adding 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Zoe Zaharias finished with 11 and Ma'ata had 10.
Sacred Heart Prep next will face No. 1 seed Cardinal Newman (28-5) in the semifinals on Tuesday in Santa Rosa. Cardinal Newman advanced with a 61-45 win over No. 8 Scotts Valley, the team that SHP edged in the CCS finals by one point.
Division V girls
Top-seeded Eastside Prep got 28 points from freshman Zion Gabriel and 11 from sophomore Ra'Anna Bey in a 65-31 romp over No. 8 seed Argonaut (20-11) in a quarterfinal in East Palo Alto. Kayle Mahan provided nine points and seven assists for the Panthers (17-11), who will host No. 4 Urban (24-8), a 56-45 winner over No. 5 Capital Christian, in Tuesday's semifinals at 7 p.m.
In Portola Valley, No. 3 Priory (19-6) advanced to the semifinals with a 58-42 win over No. 6 Cloverdale (25-8). Sophomore Tatiana Reese led the Panthes with 19 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Freshmen Ila Lane and Gabby Ruiz also came up big as Lane produced 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while Ruiz contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds. Sam McCabe finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for Priory, which will visit No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame (25-8) in the semifinals on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Boys Division I
Fifth-seeded Menlo-Atherton (27-4) earned a berth in the semifinals with a 57-53 victory over No. 4 McClymonds (21-10) at Merritt College in Oakland. The Bears, who won their first NorCal game since 2007, will face No. 1 seed and host Bellarmine (20-8) in the semifinals on Tuesday in San Jose at 7 p.m. The Bells advanced with a 72-63 win over No. 9 Castro Valley.
Kyle Winterling led M-A with 14 points off the bench, 11 coming in the second half as he drew praise from coach Mike Molieri for his best game of the season. Blake Henry added 13 points, fellow senior Lucas Fioretti had 11 and junior Eric Norton finished with 10. The Bears overcame a 21-16 first-quarter deficit and trailed at halftime, 31-25.
McClymonds took its last lead at 46-45 with under 5 1/2 minutes to play. The Bears answered with a basket by Henry and a layup by Winterling for a 49-46 lead. McClymonds got to within 53-51 with less than 1:30 to play, but M-A was able to close it out.
Boys Division V
Eighth-seeded Priory (15-9) fell to top-seeded St. Joseph Notre Dame (24-9), 61-50, in Alameda. The Panthers trailed at halftime, 33-18, and never could make up the deficit despite outscoring their hosts, 19-10, in the final period. Scotty Harris wrapped up his final prep season with 13 points with Nico Arslaner adding 11 points for Priory.