Pinewood graduated all five starters from last spring's undefeated Central Coast Section championship team. That was a team that was extremely balanced.
The current Pinewood team is a little different with a superstar providing the lion's share of production.
Elle Ladine went off for 30 points and 12 rebounds Thursday to lead Pinewood to a 59-48 victory over host St. Francis in the championship game of the Joe Schram Holiday Classic.
Ladine, who transferred to Pinewood from Lowell as a junior but then saw limited playing time due to injury and transfer eligibility rules during the truncated spring season, scored more than half of Pinewood's points against the Lancers while taking just under half (27) of the team's total field-goal attempts (58).
At 5-foot-11 she's the team's second-tallest starter, and usually guards one of an opponent's bigs. But on offense she's dynamic with the ball in her hands driving to the basket as well as launching 3-pointers and initiating the team's offense. An all-around offensive talent, she also passed off for six assists Thursday.
All while being held to a high standard.
"She's very energetic and needs to channel that energy and make good decisions on her finishes,'' Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler said. "When she does that she allows our shooters to get great looks.''
St. Francis came into the game at 10-0 and kept Pinewood within striking distance in the first half at 32-25 as Jess Oakland scored 11 points.
But the Panthers got hot in the third quarter, just as they did the night before against Marin Catholic. Emily Lee and Kaile Cruz hit 3s, Lee scored on a pass from Ladine, Skylar Chui converted a three-point play, Cruz knocked down another 3 and then Ladine scored the final eight points of a 22-point quarter on a turnaround from the foul line and back-to-back 3-pointers.
So it was a 20-point lead at 54-34 after three quarters, but at the game's conclusion Scheppler was not all that pleased after watching his team manage only five points in the fourth quarter.
"This is a little different team than I've had in the past,'' Scheppler said, reeling off the names of point guards who played for him in the past. "There's a high ceiling for us. I hope we can hit it. I think we can be better''
Cruz finished with 12 points for Pinewood (5-1). Oakland led St. Francis with 13 points. Sydney Stewart scored 10.
Los Altos 32, Riordan 28 (ot)
Los Altos scored the first seven points of overtime en route to a victory over Riordan in the fifth-place game of the Holiday Classic.
Tessa Player made one of two free throws to tie the game at 25 with less than a minute to play.
Natalie Holm hit a basket to give Los Altos the lead for good. Abby Lu added a field goal and free throw.
Macy Watson scored 13 points to lead the Eagles (8-2), who return to league play Wednesday with a home game at 7 p.m.
Palo Alto 51, Soquel 32
In a non-league game played at Aptos, Palo Alto grabbed an early lead and beat Soquel.
Vienn Sheng scored 10 points to lead Paly (9-1), which hosts South San Francisco in a non-league game Monday at 6 p.m.
Nadia Brown scored eight points and led a strong defensive effort as Paly took a 17-4 lead in the first quarter.
Natalie Neumann also scored eight points and both Jessica Fiske and McKenna Rausch scored seven points.
Mountain View 42, Fremont 28
Mountain View finished third at the Del Mar Tournament as a results of its victory over Fremont of Sunnyvale.
The Spartans (5-3) opened with a 47-23 win over Wilcox and then fell to Westmont 41-26 in the semifinals.
Mountain View hosts Milpitas at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Allie Montoya and Karena Shah each scored in the second half and Mountain View edged visiting Menlo-Atherton 2-1 in a non-league match Thursday.
Laila Edris recorded an assist and goalie Hope Stafford had three saves for the Spartans (7-0-1), who travel to play Gunn in a league match Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton (4-3-1) hosts Menlo School in a non-league match Thursday at 4:30 p.m.