Castilleja officially opened the curtains on the high school basketball season, tipping off at 5:30 p.m. Monday with a nonleague game against visiting Evergreen Valley, which opened a big lead early en route to a 50-35 victory.
Nikki Chen scored 13 points to lead the Gators, who meet St. Francis in the first round of the Firebirds Tournament on Tuesday, December 3 at 8 p.m. at Fremont High in Sunnyvale.
Chen scored 10 of her points in the second half as Castilleja rebounded from a 19-point deficit at halftime to rally to within nine points with under three minutes to play.
Anna DeVitis and Sammy Wong combined for another 14 points for the Gators, who had six players in uniform for the contest. Wong scored all seven of her points in the first quarter.
Evergreen Valley also beat Castilleja 50-32 in last year's season-opener. The Cougars finished 19-7 and reached the second round of the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs two years ago, losing to Menlo-Atherton.
Noah Chang-Linenberg scored twice and added an assist to help Carlmont beat visiting Woodside 5-1 in the season opener for both teams on Monday.
Sophomore Adrian Ruiz scored for Woodside, with an assist from Robert Sellman.
The Wildcats, who are playing in the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division following a 1-15-3 season in the Bay Division, travel to play Milpitas at noon Saturday.