Palo Alto's 18-game winning streak came to an end Sunday in a 55-31 loss to Los Gatos.
Paly (20-2, 10-1) plays Los Altos on Tuesday. Los Gatos (21-3, 10-2) has concluded its regular-season schedule. A win on Tuesday will give Palo Alto the outright SCVAL De Anza Division girls basketball championship. A Los Altos win would result in a tie for first place between Palo Alto and Los Gatos and a co-championship.
Los Gatos used its considerable size advantage to dominate inside, getting to the foul line 29 times to seven for Paly, and extending its defense to contest Palo Alto's 3-point shooters.
"Los Gatos played real hard and took it to us," Palo Alto coach Scott Peters said. "We've got to do a better job of taking what's given to us. We didn't adjust to their defense and they won all the 50-50 balls. We should learn from it."
Paly led 3-0 and 5-2 before Los Gatos took control and led the rest of the game.
The Vikings trailed 21-17 at halftime and were down 25-22 in the third quarter when Los Gatos embarked on a 30-9 run from then until the final whistle.
Palo Alto and Los Gatos will both be considered for inclusion in the Central Coast Section Open Division field. The seeding meeting is Wednesday with the playoffs beginning Friday. Peters was asked if he'd prefer being part of an Open Division dominated by private school powers, or be a high seed in Division I against other public schools with a chance for a CCS championship.
"I don't even get into that," Peters said. "It doesn't matter what I think. As a public school I focus on winning league, not on things I can't control."
The Paly girls will have to figure out how to react to losing a game, something it has not experienced since Dec. 2 against San Ramon Valley, more than two months ago.
"We have a game Tuesday, we have to regroup," Peters said. "Every game from now on will take extreme effort."
Kaella Peters scored 11 points and Nadia Brown 9 for Paly. Belle Bramer had a game-high 19 points for Los Gatos. Freshman post player Nicole Steiner scored 16.