Paly, Gunn girls are back in a familiar position | January 18, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - January 18, 2013

Paly, Gunn girls are back in a familiar position

Local rivals rise to the top of SCVAL De Anza Division race

by Keith Peters

The Palo Alto and Gunn girls' basketball teams have carted off Central Coast Section Division I trophies the past two seasons. Paly did the honors in 2011 and Gunn was the big winner in 2012.

Despite graduation losses, injuries and players transferring, both teams have remained very stable. In fact, Gunn and Paly rank one-two in the SCVAL De Anza Division following victories on Wednesday night.

The Titans (3-0, 10-3) hold down sole possession of first place following a 56-45 win over visiting Saratoga. Palo Alto, meanwhile, shook up the standings a bit by handing preseason favorite Wilcox a 43-42 loss in the Vikings' gym.

Palo Alto (3-1, 7-8) trailed by one with 2.5 seconds to play, when freshman Maddie Atwater grabed an offensive rebound and was fouled as time expired. Atwater calmly made both free throws to cap the come-from-behind victory.

"To see our team play hard and fight all the way till the end of the game was critical," said Paly coach Scott Peters. "That is what put us in a position where Maddie could make a play to win the game."

Peters said senior Josie Butler was "under the weather, and yet she came out and gave everything she had for her team and teammates." Butler finished with six points, five rebounds and five blocked shots while helping limit 6-foot-3 Wilcox scoring standout Joeseta Fatuesi to just seven points.

Peters also liked the effort by senior Annie Susco, "who did things that don't show up on the box score, but are critical to us winning. This was great leadership from our seniors, which helps our freshmen to learn the game."

Palo Alto trailed by 10 points to start the fourth quarter, but hit four 3-pointers and went on a 13-3 run to get back in the game. Butler joined with Alexis Harris and Charlotte Alipate in keeping Fatuesi, who had 14 rebounds, from taking over the game.

Palo Alto wound up hitting a season-high 10 three-pointers (in 29 attempts). The Vikings' top four scorers — Siggi Bengston, Coco Lovely, Harris and Atwater — are all freshmen.

The Vikings, who took two of three from the Chargers in 2011-12, now have won six out of the past eight head-to-head matchups with Wilcox.

Across town, Gunn got 15 points from Zoe Zwerling and 13 from Claire Klausner while remaining alone atop the standings.

Zwerling also grabbed seven rounds while Sarah Klem had nine points and four rebounds for the Titans, who trailed by 16-14 after one quarter and still were down at the half, 25-24. Gunn finally pulled ahead in the third quarter after holding the Falcons (1-4, 12-5) to just three points.

Elsewhere in girls' basketball Wednesday, Emma Heath scored 14 points to lead Menlo-Atherton to a 48-32 victory over visiting Capuchino, keeping the Bears (3-0, 7-8) in a four-way tie for first place in the PAL South Division race with Burlingame, Woodside and San Mateo.

In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), Pinewood took over sole possession of first place with a 57-47 victory over host Castilleja on Tuesday night. Sophomores Marissa Hing and Gabi Bade each tallied 15 points for the Panthers (3-0, 13-3) while sophomore Morgan Tomberlin had a season-high 14.

Sophomore Paige Vermeer led the Gators (0-3, 3-12) with a career-high 22 points and four assists. She made six 3-pointers, also a career high. Yasmeen Afifi added 10 points, nine rebounds and a career-tying four blocks.

Pinewood took over first place alone thanks to Sacred Heart Prep, which made its first WBAL Foothill Division victory a big one by upending first-place and host Menlo School, 48-47. The Gators improved to 1-2 in league (13-4 overall) while the Knights fell to 2-1 and 12-5.

Sacred Heart Prep 5-foot-7 senior Melissa Holland, matched up against 6-4 Menlo senior Drew Eldeman all night, played an outstanding game and led all players with a season-high 29 points and double-digit rebounds. Holland also factored in the winning points, making one of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left.

In East Palo Alto, host Eastside Prep moved into a tie for second place with a 63-27 romp over defending league champ Mercy-San Francisco.

Boys' basketball

Sacred Heart Prep forged a four-way tie for first place in the West Bay Athletic League with a 56-55 victory over visiting Harker, which came into the game sitting atop the standings. The Gators (3-1, 7-7) grabbed a 31-24 halftime lead and then held on as Harker rallied with 30 second-half points. SHP cashed in at the free-throw line by making 22 of 29. Ricky Galliani led the Gators with 16 points.

Elsewhere in the WBAL, visiting Pinewood (2-3, 7-6) handed Priory (1-2, 4-7) a 72-67 defeat Wednesday.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto held on to first place with a 56-25 victory over visiting Cupertino on Tuesday night. The Vikings (5-0, 14-1) won their 12th straight game by jumping out to a 19-4 first-quarter lead and extending it to 38-12 by halftime. Junior post Keller Chryst was dominant inside with a season-high 17 points while senior Aubrey Dawkins added 12.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn dropped a 62-48 decision to visiting Santa Clara. Chris Russell and Patrick Skelly combined for 23 points for the Titans (0-4, 3-11), who held a 16-11 first-quarter lead.

In the WBAL, Menlo School built a 10-point halftime lead and coasted to a 58-34 victory over host Eastside Prep on Tuesday. The Knights improved to 3-1 in league (7-7 overall). Bobby Roth led Menlo with 15 points.


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