There’s something special going on with the Palo Alto boys basketball team.
The Vikings improved to 4-0 Friday with a 71-35 win over Amador Valley in the DJ Frandsen Memorial Tournament at Bellarmine.
Bryant Jefferson/Photo by Karen Ambrose Hickey
Amador Valley (4-4), coached by former Paly mentor Adam Sax, was without its best player, Demetrius Williams, who was sick. Without him the game was punitively one-sided -- Paly led 38-15 at halftime.
Palo Alto played at warp speed, pushing the pace relentlessly on offense and playing intense full-court man defense. A lot of teams try to play that way, but few at the high school level are able to do so while minimizing sloppiness and turnovers to the extent the Vikings have done thus far this season.
“It’s surprising to me how few turnovers we’ve made,’’ Palo Alto coach Peter Diepenbrock said. “A lot of the credit goes to (point guard) Miles Tention. He does a good job pushing it and not making too many bad passes. Miles is at his best in the open court.’’
Tention loves playing in Paly’s system.
“My strong suit is being able to push the ball and pass off the dribble,’’ the 6-foot-4 senior said. “I’ve played with the guys on the team for a long time. They know if they run I’ll find them.’’
Palo Alto will play host Bellarmine for the tournament championship Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Bellarmine is led by backcourt duo Angelo Athens, who attended Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park, and Jake Wojcik, the son of San Jose State head coach Dave Wojcik.
Tention’s father, Rodney Tention, is an assistant at SJS.
Max Dorward, a 6-4 junior forward, showed a silky smooth touch on his jumper and led Palo Alto with 21 points.
“He’s a beautiful athlete,’’ Diepenbrock said. “He runs the court well and is a real good kid.’’
The other two Vikings in double figures both came off the bench. Ethan Stern, a 5-10 senior guard, scored 11 and Bryant Jefferson, a 6-4 junior forward, scored 10.
Depth is a big strength for Paly and a reason why the team is able to play the extreme up-tempo style.
“I’ve got nine, 10 really good high school players who deserve to get in the game,’’ Diepenbrock said. “That lends itself to playing the way we do.’’