The goals will be similar and the potential results identical when the Palo Alto High and Sacred Heart Prep boys' basketball teams take the floor on Friday night in showdowns that will go a long way in determining their respective league titles.
Both teams need victories. Should they achieve them, the Vikings and Gators all but mathematically wrap up regular-season championships.
Palo Alto (7-1, 14-6) will put first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division on the line when it plays host to second-place Cupertino (5-2, 13-6) at 7:45 p.m. The Pioneers are the only team to beat the Vikings in league play this season, 45-40, on Jan. 14.
First-year Paly coach Adam Sax would like nothing better than to prove that loss was a fluke, especially in a game with so much at stake. A win by the Vikings will give them a two-game lead over Cupertino and Gunn with only three games to play. Gunn (5-3, 13-7) was upended by host Homestead, 55-43, on Tuesday night , opening the door wider for a possible Paly title. Jack Hannan scored 16 points for Gunn.
"Friday's the big one," Sax said. "We have to win that one, otherwise we're tied."
The Vikings took care of business Tuesday night with a 60-38 win over host Los Altos. Paly senior Davante Adams tallied 17 points and grabbed six rebounds with five assists to lead the way. He made some nice passes to sophomore post E.J. Floreal, who finished with 13 points as did Max Schmarzo. Alec Wong missed the second half due to illness.
Before Paly takes on Cupertino in the final game of a quad, Sacred Heart Prep will visit second-place Pinewood at 6 p.m. The first-place Gators are 9-0 in the West Bay Athletic League and 17-2 overall while the second-place Panthers are 8-1 (16-3).
A victory will give SHP a two-game with games against four teams the Gators already have beaten quite easily. While Friday will be too early to be celebrating, a victory will provide quite a cushion for SHP, which routed Pinewood in its first meeting, 87-71.
The Gators tuned up for Pinewood as senior Will McConnell poured in a season-high 26 points and his twin, Reed, returned to the lineup following a sprained ankle in a 73-54 romp over host King's Academy. Tomas O'Donnell added 10 points and Pat McNamara contributed eight. Reed McConnell scored five in his first game back as he prepared for the Pinewood game.
The Panthers, meanwhile, got 19 points and eight rebounds plus four steals from senior Kyle Riches in an 81-56 victory over host Crystal Springs on Tuesday night. Junior Solomone Wolfgramm added 17 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while junior Cameron Helvey contributed 18 points and seven boards.
In San Jose, Menlo School came up with one of its best defensive efforts of the season in holding off host Harker, 36-27, to move into sole possession of third place in the WBAL. The Knights (5-4, 9-10) scored just four points in the first quarter and trailed by 15-9 at the half after holding Harker to just two points in the second period.
Menlo then came alive after intermission, outscoring Harker 27-12 in the final two periods. Kent Lacob had 13 points and four steals for Menlo while Richard Harris contributed nine points and seven rebounds. Freddy Avis also was solid with seven rebounds and six points.
In East Palo Alto, host Eastside Prep got its long-awaited first victory in WBAL action with a 51-37 drubbing of Priory. The host Panthers (1-8, 6-13), who last won on Dec. 17 and had lost 11 straight, ended that streak of futility by jumping out to a 17-8 first-quarter lead and maintaining it throughout.
Senior Leslie Gray led Prep with 21 points and seven rebounds while junior Bryan Walker added nine points, seven rebounds and six steals. Brandon Willhite led Priory (1-8, 8-10) with 21 points while 6-8 Gabor Somogyi added 11 points and 13 rebounds. Priory, however, shot just 26 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers.
Also in East Palo Alto, Mid-Peninsula moved closer to the Private Schools Athletic League title with an 86-62 thumping of host East Palo Alto Academy. The Dragons (8-0, 14-2) were led by Lydell Cardwell's 26 points and 20 from Reggie Williams. Nick Seyer added 18 and Anthony Briggs had 15. Mid-Peninsula jumped out to a 42-24 halftime lead and cruised from there.