Carlmont scored the first basket of the game, and that was the last time the Scots led.
Palo Alto responded with three consecutive three-point plays -- two by Aidan Rausch and one by Ryan Lykken -- to take a 9-3 lead and was never headed in a 45-38 victory in the Central Coast Section Division I boys basketball playoffs.
No. 6 seed Palo Alto (11-8) advances to play at No. 3 Santa Clara (11-3) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. It will be Paly’s third game of the season against Santa Clara.
“The schedulers have a sense of humor,’’ Palo Alto coach Jeff Lamere said.
Santa Clara won the SCVAL De Anza Division championship with a record of 10-2. Both losses were to Paly, which finished 7-5 in league. The Bruins are led by senior post standout Harry Nauci.
“We’re fortunate to have someone to match up with him,’’ Lamere said, referring to 6-foot-6 Martin Segura.
Paly led Carlmont 30-16 at halftime as Rausch scored 13 of his game-high 20 points and Paly’s half-court defense put the muzzle on Carlmont’s offense.
But the Scots came out strong in the third quarter, Paly went cold, and Carlmont pulled within four at 35-31 early in the fourth quarter.
“In some ways it was a typical game for us,’’ Lamere said. “We had some nice moments offensively, but certainly went through some scoring droughts.’’
The Vikings responded to Carlmont’s rally and pulled away for the win thanks to two possessions in which they ran a full minute off the clock to shorten the game by rebounding missed shots, and by getting to the foul line 10 times the remainder of the game.
“We have to do a better job in transition defense,’’ Lamere said. “That’s how they made their comeback. But we showed a lot of resilience. When they had to play against our halfcourt defense they had trouble scoring.’’
Aragon 46, Gunn 43
Gunn’s fourth-quarter rally fell just short and Aragon held on to advance to play No.1 seed St. Francis on Tuesday in the CCS Division II quarterfinals.
Gunn (8-12) trailed 40-31 after three quarters, but cut the deficit to three and had a chance to tie in the final seconds. The first option was to have leading scorer Gavin Kitch come off a double screen and shoot the 3. But Kitch was covered, so he drove and kicked the ball out to Yoram Elazar in the corner, whose shot went in and out.
Aragon post player Murphy Caffo was a problem for Gunn all game and he finished with 24 points.
“He was tough in the post, made some great shots,’’ Williams said. “We just came up short. I’m proud of my guys. They played hard, especially the seniors.’’
Kitch led Gunn with 16 points. Rogan Gibbons added nine points.
“He’s been a great player, puts points in the basket,’’ Williams said of his senior guard. “He’ll be missed.’’