Getting key plays and consistent defense up and down the lineup, the Menlo School boys' basketball team ended a lengthy drought against rival Sacred Heart Prep, winning 73-54 in a West Bay Athletic League matchup Tuesday.
The Knights had lost six straight league games to the Gators before Tuesday. Menlo's last win came in February of 2009, a season in which the Knights swept SHP and won the league title.
"They took care of their defensive assignments, and we followed our game plan," said Menlo coach Delandro Leday, who earned his first-ever win over SHP. "They didn't miss a beat."
Juniors Jack Heneghan and Ryan Young paved the way for Menlo in the post, pouring in 20 points and 18 points, respectively. They also combined for 14 rebounds. Menlo senior guard Bobby Roth chipped in with 11 points. The Knights got a boost from another junior Alex Grossman, who scored eight points and blocked four shots.
The Knights (1-1, 5-7) next will host King's Academy (2-0, 9-3) on Friday 6 p.m., while Sacred Heart Prep (0-1, 4-7) visits Pinewood on Thursday.
Leading 22-21, Menlo pulled away in the second quarter, beginning with Young's blocked shot. He later fed Grossman for a 24-21 lead, then sink a three-pointer from the left side to extend the gap to six. Roth made a driving layup and two free throws. Liam Dunn added two more free throws with 18 seconds left in the half, and Grossman had a pair of blocks for a 33-21 cushion.
"The bigs really dominated the inside and our guards took away their shooters tonight," Leday said.
Sacred Heart Prep got to within 37-30 in the third quarter after Ian Bennett completed a three-point play. Menlo pulled away from there, thanks to its 40-point half.
The Knights shot 83.9 percent from the free-throw line, making 26 of 37 attempts. Dunn was 8 for 8. The Gators were 20 of 25 and were led by Ricky Galliani's 15 points. Derek Hunter and Kevin Donahoe each added 10.
Also in the WBAL, Daevon Bishop tossed in 18 points during Eastside Prep's 40-37 loss at King's Academy. The Panthers (0-1, 7-2) trailed by only 22-20 at halftime, but slipped further behind with a seven-point third quarter.
In Los Altos Hills, defending league champ Pinewood (0-2, 5-5) suffered its second straight WBAL loss, a 58-49 setback to visiting Harker (2-0, 8-4).
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto remained atop the standings at 3-0 following a 57-47 victory over visiting Saratoga. The Vikings (12-1) won their 10th straight as swingman Aubrey Dawkins poured in 27 points. Fellow senior Aldis Petriceks added 12 points for Paly, which grabbed a 32-18 halftime lead.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn trailed early and then was outscored in the fourth quarter, 22-8, while dropping a 62-49 decision to host Los Altos. Chris Russell and Patrick Skelly each had 12 points for the Titans (0-3, 3-10).
Gunn got to within 50-46 in the fourth quarter after a basket by Skelly, but the Titans couldn't get any closer.
In a battle between the co-favorites in the WBAL Foothill Division, Menlo School grabbed the upper hand in what should be a competitive division with a 40-39 victory over visiting Eastside Prep on Tuesday night.
Despite falling behind after one quarter, 12-8, the Knights (1-0, 10-4) came on strong and limited the Panthers (0-1, 8-5) to just four points in the final quarter.
Lauren Lete provided the winning margin as she hit two free throws with 16 seconds to play. Menlo also got 15 points and 12 rebounds from Drew Edelman and 10 rebounds plus eight points from Maddy Price.
The Panthers had a shot to win with six seconds left, but Brije Byers' shot missed.
Eastside Prep took a 35-27 lead into the fourth quarter qhad led by 33-25 midway through the third period, but two big baskets by Price put Menlo in front, 38-37. Charmaine Bradford gave the Panthers their last lead before Lete's free throws decided it.
Eastside Prep lost 6-foot-3 center Destiny Graham to an injury late in the game. Graham had nine rebounds and four points before departing. She was replaced by senior Hashima Carothers, who had been on the bench recovering from her own injury before being pressed into service.
Elsewhere in the WBAL Foothill Division, Castilleja opened its league season with a 55-39 loss at defending champion Mercy-San Francisco. The Gators (0-1, 3-9) played without 6-1 senior Lauren Rantz, who is out for the season with a broken wrist suffered last month. Sophomore Paige Vermeer led the Gators with a career-high 19 points, eight steals and six rebounds.