by Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Should the Sacred Heart Prep boys' basketball team win its final three games and finish with the championship of the West Bay Athletic League, it will look back on those games when it had to battle all the way to win. One of those such contests was played Tuesday night.
Rallying from a five-point deficit in the third quarter with a 14-0 run, Sacred Heart remained atop the WBAL standings with a hard-fought 59-48 victory over host Pinewood in Los Altos Hills. The Gators improved to 10-1 in league (16-5 overall) while the Panthers fell out of a tie for second at 8-3 (15-5).
Sacred Heart Prep trailed by 35-30 in the third period before pressing Pinewood into mistakes and capitalizing on them with 14 unanswered points to take a 44-35 lead. The final two baskets in the run came off the Gators' fullcourt press on inbound plays. SHP's Cal Baloff stole an inbounds pass and scored before the Gators forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play and Baloff converted again.
Baloff came off the bench for 10 points to help spark the Gators. Ty Cobb (10 rebounds) and Colin Terndrup both added 11 points while twin brothers Reed and Will McConnell combined for another 17 despite the fact Reed was battling the flu.
Pinewood never quite recovered from SHP's third-quarter run, even though the Panthers did get to within 51-48 after a three-pointer by John Bennett and two free throws by Aaron Daines with 4:06 left to play. At that point, Sacred Heart Prep went on an 8-0 run to close out the game. Solomone Wolfgramm led Pinewood with 13 points. Two crucial turnovers and a missed free throw on the front end of a one-and-one situation ruined the Panthers' hopes of an upset in the final four minutes.
In East Palo Alto, Menlo School moved into a tie for fourth place in the WBAL with a 55-51 victory over host Eastside Prep on Tuesday. The Knights (5-6, 7-14) got a career-high 30 points from 6-foot-6 junior Richard Harris, who also grabbed 11 rebounds in his standout effort. Teammate Mac Osborne added nine points. Menlo had to rally from a 42-36 deficit entering the fourth quarter. The host Panthers (1-10, 3-17) got a season-high 23 points from Titus Van Hook and 20 from junior Leslie Gray.
In Portola Valley, host Priory lost a disappointing 56-46 decision to visiting Crystal Springs on Tuesday in a WBAL game. Things turned sour quickly for the Panthers (4-7, 9-11) when 6-foot-9 senior Levente Juhos left the game in the first quarter following an injury. While Priory trailed by only 27-26 at halftime and held a 39-35 lead at the end of three quarters, the Gryphons (2-9, 5-16) pulled away in the fourth quarter by outscoring Priory by 14.
Brandon Willhite and Gabor Somogyi did their best to keep Priory in the game by scoring 14 points each, but it wasn't enough to make up for the loss of Juhos.
In other WBAL action, Harker (9-2, 17-4) remained in second place with a closer-than-expected 49-48 victory over visiting King's Academy.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, host Palo Alto shocked first-place Mountain View, 40-37, to tighten an already close SCVAL De Anza Division race. The Spartans (7-3, 14-8) still own first place, but Wilcox (6-4), Lynbrook (5-4) and Monta Vista (5-4) are close behind. Paly (4-5, 11-8) moved up, but only three games remain in the regular season.
The Vikings' defense was the key, making up for their 6-of-19 shooting from the free-throw line. Sophomore Emilee Osagiede led the way with 10 points while holding off the Spartans' comeback attempt with her rebounding.
Victoria Shih, Lauren Mah and Stephanie Allen also were singled out by coach Scott Peters for their defensive effort and ability to break Mountain View's press in the late going. Paly junior Katerina Peterson tipped in a missed free throw with 4.2 seconds to play to prevent the Spartans from getting off a potential game-tying shot.
In the WBAL (Foothill Division), senior Felicia Anderson knocked down seven three-pointes and scored a season-high 30 points on Senior Night and freshman Hashima Carothers grabbed 11 rebounds as Eastside Prep remained tied for first place with a 66-51 victory over visiting Menlo on Tuesday night.
The Panthers (8-1, 19-4) raced to a 19-8 first-quarter lead before the Knights (3-6, 12-10) made a game of it. Menlo, however, had to foul in the late going in an attempt to catch up, with Eastside scoring 10 points from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Ahjalee Harvey added 15 points and six assists while Carothers chipped in with 12 and Ausjerae Holland tallied nine for the Panthers. Freshman Drew Edelman had another big double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds while Whitney Hooper added 12 points and Jasmine Williams had nine.
In Los Altos Hills, Pinewood stayed in a first-place tie with Eastside Prep following a 73-40 romp over visiting Sacred Heart Prep on Senior Night for the Panthers. Junior guard Miranda Seto, who played at SHP her freshman yet, scored 12 of her 23 points in the third quarter to pace Pinewood (8-1, 18-5). Hailie Eackles added 15 points and seven rebounds while Emily Liang added 14 points. Kelsey Morehead had seven rebounds and six assists to go with her five points while SHP (0-9, 7-15) was led by freshman Melissa Holland's 14 points.
In the PAL Bay Division, host Menlo-Atherton couldn't handle first-place Terra Nova and dropped a 62-50 decision on Tuesday night. Victoria Fakalata led the Bears (4-5, 9-14) with 19 points.
In nonleague action, Castilleja (15-7) handed host Gunn (8-11) a 48-20 defeat.