Menlo girls end Pinewood's long WBAL hoops winning streak | News | Palo Alto Online |


Menlo girls end Pinewood's long WBAL hoops winning streak

Coco Layton made the game winning free throw in the final five seconds. Photo by Pam McKenney/Menlo Athletics.

Coco Layton made one of two free throws with 4.5 seconds left to break a tie and give Menlo School a 46-45 victory over Pinewood in a West Bay Athletic League girls basketball opener Saturday.

Pinewood called timeout with 3.2 seconds left and tried to set up a game-winning shot. Point guard Annika Decker took the inbounds pass, dribbled down court and passed to Valentina Saric on the right wing. Saric cast off a 3-point attempt that hit the front rim, bounced straight up and came down through the net.

Pinewood players broke into celebration only to be quickly curtailed when the officials waved off the basket, ruling that it left Saric’s hand after time expired.

Then it was Menlo’s turn to celebrate.

Menlo ended Pinewood's 66-game regular-season WBAL winning streak, dating to a Feb. 5, 2013 loss to Eastside Prep.

Menlo (11-1, 1-0) won a state Division II championship a year ago, but this win was a significant achievement for the program. For all its success last season the Knights were blown out twice -- 75-36 and 74-47 -- by a Pinewood team that went on to win the Northern California Open Division championship.

“It shows how much we’ve improved, how much we’ve grown,’’ Layton said. “With all our players back from last year we’ve solidified and play well together. We’ve started working real hard on defense.’’

Defense was most definitely a key to the win. Pinewood (10-1, 0-1) went into the game averaging 73.3 points per game, so Menlo held the Panthers nearly 30 points under their average. They were 5 of 22 from 3-point range.

“Our defensive pressure was real good and we won the 50-50 balls,’’ Menlo coach John Paye said. “That was the difference ‘’

A basket by Courtni Thompson at the end of the third quarter gave Pinewood a 33-32 lead and then the Panthers scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to go up by eight at 40-32.

A 3-pointer by Avery Lee ignited an eight-point Menlo run as the Knights came back to draw even, 40-40.

“The 3 Avery hit was huge,’’ Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler said. “Cut it to five and gave them hope.’’

Maia Garcia scored for Pinewood off a pass from Una Jovanovic and then Sharon Nejad tied it for Menlo off a pass from Layton with 59 seconds left.

Annika Decker’s 3-pointer put Pinewood ahead until Menlo countered with a 3 by Layton that tied it.

Then it was Layton stepping to the line with a chance to give her team the win.

“I took a deep breath and tried to clear my mind,’’ she said. “I tried not to think about the pressure, just tried to do everything the same that I do in practice.’’

Nejad picked up three fouls in the first two minutes of the game. But Paye kept subbing her in on offense and taking her out on defense the rest of the first half, and Nejad ended up with game-highs 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Decker led Pinewood with 16 points.

“Annika played brilliantly,’’ Scheppler said. “The other girls need to join her. The better team won. We showed a lack of composure, a lack of confidence. But that was a great game for us to learn from. It’s not the end of the world. The ceiling is real high for this team.’’

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Umami Burger calls it quits in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 15 comments | 8,858 views

Couples and Premarital : "Who we are . . . depends in part . . . on who we love."
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,301 views

Flying: How much is enough? It's personal.
By Sherry Listgarten | 7 comments | 1,767 views

Simple Valentine’s Day Traditions
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 881 views

My Pet Peeves
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 6 comments | 872 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details