M-A boys make the best of their basketball situation


The way the Menlo-Atherton boys basketball team is playing you’d never guess it isn’t close to being at full strength.

The Bears improved to 3-1 with a 58-52 win Friday at Bellarmine in the DJ Frandsen Memorial Tournament over a Leland team that came in with a 7-0 record.

Not bad for a short-handed team.

Here it is the middle of December and the basketball team is still waiting for the football team’s season to end.

The football Bears play Lincoln of San Diego for the CIF 3-AA state championship Saturday at Sequoia.

Three players on the basketball roster -- Justin Anderson, Skyler Thomas and JD Carson -- are still playing football. Plus a couple more guys on the football team might join up. That group is expected to make key athletic contributions.

But the players coach Mike Molieri has available are doing a very nice job on their own.

“I’m very happy with the way we’re playing,’’ Molieri said. “We’ve got to roll with who we’ve got.’’

M-A will play host Bellarmine for the Frandsen championship, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Bells (4-0) advanced with a 66-45 win over Granite Bay.

Molieri refers to this team as one of his best shooting teams, and Friday the Bears backed up his words, knocking down shots at a 55.6 percent clip through the first three quarters (20 of 36).

They cooled off a bit in the fourth quarter when their focus was more on running clock but still finished at an even 50 percent for the game (24 of 48).

“We’ve got guys who can score and shoot,’’ Molieri said.

Will Beasley led the way with 18 points, attacking the rim on high-percentage drives and pulling up for short jumpers.

“He’s my glue guy,’’ Molieri said.

Nick Tripaldi showed a soft touch from outside, making four 3-pointers and scoring 17 points.

“He’s got a green light,’’ Molieri said. “I give a lot of green lights to this team.’’

The first quarter ended 17-17. M-A took the lead in the second quarter and was never headed the rest of the way. Heath Hooper scored six and James Beckwith four that quarter as the Bears took a 31-25 lead at halftime.

Beasley scored the team’s first eight points of the third quarter on a drive in the lane, an offensive-rebound putback, a jumper and a fastbreak layup. Tripaldi connected on a pair of 3-pointers as M-A opened its biggest lead of the game at 47-34.

Leland tried to respond and went on a 7-0 run that ended on Trevor Wargo’s 3-pointer off a pass from Beasley.

The Chargers got as close as three in the final minute at 55-52, before Beasley’s layup on a runout made it a two-possession game.

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