After winning a state Division II championship last season Menlo School girls basketball coach John Paye made the decision to upgrade his team’s schedule. It was the logical next step in the development of the Menlo program. Play the best in order to be considered among the best.
On Wednesday the Knights got an up-close view of the powerful Archbishop Mitty program and it wasn’t a very pleasant interaction as Menlo got doubled up on the scoreboard by the Monarchs, 74-37.
Menlo (2-1) was coming off a 72-48 win over Valley Christian, like Mitty a member of the West Catholic Athletic League. But, as it soon became evident, those two teams have very little else in common.
Menlo had the lead one time in the game, at 6-5 when Georgia Paye scored off a pass from Avery Lee. Lee’s three-point play shortly thereafter knotted the score 9-9. Mitty (3-0) then ran off the final 10 points of the quarter to gain separation.
The lead only increased after that. It was 39-18 at halftime and 60-31 after three quarters.
The Monarchs posed a set of matchup problems for Menlo, something they do against virtually every opponent. They start four 6-footers -- Katie Springs, Amelia Scharpf, Pinewood transfer Olivia Williams and Eastside transfer Marley Langi.
Williams and Langi were the tallest players on their previous teams, therefore nominal 5s, or centers. With Mitty they play guard. Williams led all scorers Wednesday with 21 points, knocking down five 3-pointers.
And the Monarchs are not only big, but rather mobile and hostile in their trapping, pressing defense, as well. They trapped Lee at every opportunity with bigger players and forced the Menlo point guard and team leader to get rid of the ball.
Menlo center Sharon Nejad, the team’s tallest player at 5-10, scored 11 points to lead the Knights. Coco Layton scored nine on three 3-pointers.
“We got to see a very good team,’’ John Paye said. “Their size and the way they came out and played with intensity wore us down. All said and done, I think the experience makes us a better team.’’