Paly girls hold off Warriors in nonleague basketball

Annika Shah (23) scored 27 points to lead Palo Alto past visiting South San Francisco on Tuesday night. Photo by David Hickey.

The Palo Alto girls basketball team is a young team, with four sophomores in the starting lineup, and still a work in progress. But the team took a step in the right direction Tuesday with a 50-43 victory over defending Central Coast Section Division III champion South San Francisco.

Annika Shah carried the scoring load with 27 of the team’s 50 points. She made five 3-pointers and was 8 of 9 at the foul line.

Elle Jefferies drives the lane for Paly. Photo by David Hickey.
Paly coach Scott Peters would like his attack to be less one-dimensional.

“For Annika’s sake she needs her teammates to step up with sharing the scoring load,’’ Peters said. “Then teams will have a harder time doubling her.’’

The Vikings play at Aptos on Friday night in another big test. The Mariners (3-1) lost to SSF in last year's section final but already has a win over defending Division V champion Priory.

Shah came out hot against the Warriors, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first quarter as Palo Alto (2-1) raced to an 18-6 lead.

It wasn’t so easy after that. South City (0-2) did not shoot well, but hurt Paly with multiple shots off the offensive boards. Senior center Becca Tasi, who had a 20-point, 20-rebound game in the season opener against Valley Christian, scored 16 points and was in double figures again in rebounds. She scored 11 of South City’s 13 second-quarter points as the Warriors began to cut into Paly’s lead.

“That (Tasi) is tough,’’ Peters said. “She has good hands. We were helping off her on drives and they’d pass to her. We weren’t supposed to help. And when they’d shoot and miss she’d step into the lane and get the rebound. She hurt us. That’s where we’ve got to get better. We start a sophomore post and bring in a freshman post. They’re doing their best. They’re learning.’’

Shah had 18 points at halftime and scored all five Paly points in the third quarter as South City drew to within 35-32 at the end of the quarter.

“In third quarters so far we’ve scored 2, 4 and 5 points,’’ Peters said. “We’ve got to start doing something different.’’

The Vikings righted themselves in the fourth quarter. Freshman Thea Enache scored to start the quarter, Ellie Jeffries hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Shah, and then Shah made two free throws to boost the lead back up to 8 at 42-34.

Carly Martin, who had been in foul trouble, made back-to-back buckets and Paly held on for the win.

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