Sports

Second-half rally gives SHP boys basketball a WBAL win

Aidan Braccia scored 19 points to lead SHP past Priory. Photo taken Dec. 18, 2021 by Cynthia Norris.

Judging by Sacred Heart Prep's early-season performance against some prep basketball heavyweights, it seemed the only West Bay Athletic League games that would provide a competitive outcome would be its two rivalry games with Menlo. Those two teams appeared to be a clear cut above the rest of the league.

Priory, the defending WBAL boys basketball champion from the spring, had something to say about that Tuesday, leading by 10 points early in the third quarter and forcing the Gators to dig down deep to rally for a 47-44 victory.

Priory (7-8, 3-2) went through an up and down preseason after losing several key performers to graduation. But the addition of 6-foot-9 sophomore Steve Emenecke gives promise for the future and can make the Panthers a factor on any given night.

"He changes things around the rim,'' SHP coach Tony Martinelli said. "You have to use your footwork and positioning to get around him.''

Emenecke and Clint Smith scored 11 points apiece to lead Priory.

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Senior guard Aidan Braccia, who has committed to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., led all scorers with 19 points.

"They're fun to watch and their offense fits his skill set,'' Martinelli said of Belmont, a 3-point shooting small school that has garnered national attention with NCAA Tournament upsets over big-name opponents. "I think his best basketball is ahead of him.''

Ten of Braccia's points came during the third-quarter. His 3-pointer at the end of the quarter gave the Gators their first lead of the game at 32-31, a lead they would not relinquish.

Sacred Heart Prep (9-2, 2-0) played an extremely challenging non-league schedule and came through it looking great with wins over Riordan and St. Francis from the WCAL, as well as a win over an Inderkum team from Sacramento that is currently 13-1 and considered one of the best teams in the state.

But the stops and starts to the season caused by the surge in coronavirus infections has derailed the team's momentum.

"That preseason feels so long ago for my team from where we are now," Martinelli said. "That's something we have to figure out so we can look like that same team we were in the preseason. We have to deal with the stops and starts better.''

Martinelli has had a number of good teams at Sacred Heart Prep, compiling a record of 247-104 while coaching at the school since 2007. He says this team is right up there with the best teams he's coached.

"This team has a little of everything," he said. "There's not one part you feel you're a little deficient in and need to fix."

Will Eggemeier helped Menlo beat Crystal Springs Uplands on Tuesday. Photo taken Jan. 11, 2022 by Pam Wimberly/Menlo Athletics.

Menlo is 8-3, 2-0 after a 65-45 win Tuesday over Crystal Springs Uplands. The SHP-Menlo game, originally scheduled for Jan. 7, has been rescheduled for Sunday, Feb. 6.

Against CSUS, Lucas Vogel led Menlo with 20 points. Daniel Solomon had 17 points while junior Robby Enright contributed 12 points and Will Eggemeier had 11 points and seven assists.

The Eastside Prep-Pinewood game was postponed.

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Second-half rally gives SHP boys basketball a WBAL win

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 11:40 am

Judging by Sacred Heart Prep's early-season performance against some prep basketball heavyweights, it seemed the only West Bay Athletic League games that would provide a competitive outcome would be its two rivalry games with Menlo. Those two teams appeared to be a clear cut above the rest of the league.

Priory, the defending WBAL boys basketball champion from the spring, had something to say about that Tuesday, leading by 10 points early in the third quarter and forcing the Gators to dig down deep to rally for a 47-44 victory.

Priory (7-8, 3-2) went through an up and down preseason after losing several key performers to graduation. But the addition of 6-foot-9 sophomore Steve Emenecke gives promise for the future and can make the Panthers a factor on any given night.

"He changes things around the rim,'' SHP coach Tony Martinelli said. "You have to use your footwork and positioning to get around him.''

Emenecke and Clint Smith scored 11 points apiece to lead Priory.

Senior guard Aidan Braccia, who has committed to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., led all scorers with 19 points.

"They're fun to watch and their offense fits his skill set,'' Martinelli said of Belmont, a 3-point shooting small school that has garnered national attention with NCAA Tournament upsets over big-name opponents. "I think his best basketball is ahead of him.''

Ten of Braccia's points came during the third-quarter. His 3-pointer at the end of the quarter gave the Gators their first lead of the game at 32-31, a lead they would not relinquish.

Sacred Heart Prep (9-2, 2-0) played an extremely challenging non-league schedule and came through it looking great with wins over Riordan and St. Francis from the WCAL, as well as a win over an Inderkum team from Sacramento that is currently 13-1 and considered one of the best teams in the state.

But the stops and starts to the season caused by the surge in coronavirus infections has derailed the team's momentum.

"That preseason feels so long ago for my team from where we are now," Martinelli said. "That's something we have to figure out so we can look like that same team we were in the preseason. We have to deal with the stops and starts better.''

Martinelli has had a number of good teams at Sacred Heart Prep, compiling a record of 247-104 while coaching at the school since 2007. He says this team is right up there with the best teams he's coached.

"This team has a little of everything," he said. "There's not one part you feel you're a little deficient in and need to fix."

Menlo is 8-3, 2-0 after a 65-45 win Tuesday over Crystal Springs Uplands. The SHP-Menlo game, originally scheduled for Jan. 7, has been rescheduled for Sunday, Feb. 6.

Against CSUS, Lucas Vogel led Menlo with 20 points. Daniel Solomon had 17 points while junior Robby Enright contributed 12 points and Will Eggemeier had 11 points and seven assists.

The Eastside Prep-Pinewood game was postponed.

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