When it comes to athletic achievement, the focus on the Sacred Heart Prep campus these days is on the football team -- headed to a state bowl game this weekend.
Not to be overlooked, however, is the undefeated SHP girls basketball team.
With tournament MVP Riley Hemm scoring 14 points -- she made four 3-pointers -- the Gators made it a clean sweep in the King's Academy Winter Classic by topping the host team, 49-36, in the championship game Saturday night in Sunnyvale.
The Gators improved to 5-0 under second-year coach Melanie Murphy as they pressured King's Academy into 23 turnovers. Tatum Angotti led SHP with 17 points and Natalie Zimits finished with 10. Angotti and Ma'ata Makoni each joined Hemm on the all-tournament team. Makoni had five points and eight rebounds.
In the third-place game, Castilleja defeated Fremont, 53-39. The Gators (4-3) trailed only briefly in the opening quarter before opening up a 27-21 halftime lead as junior Cate Alder scored 13 points including 8 of 9 free throws. The Firebirds closed to within three points in the third period but got no closer.
Alder tied her career high of 22 points and pulled down six rebounds, and Ellie Chen had 17 points, five assists and eight steals. Chen and Alder were both named to the all-tournament team.
Freshman Claire Pisani had a game-high eight rebounds and added eight points and four steals. The Gators head into final exams this week and resume action on December 26 at the Monterey Bay Sweet 16 Tournament.
In Atherton, Menlo-Atherton ended a two-game losing streak by defeating visiting George Washington (San Francisco), 68-41, in nonleague action. The game was dominated by the Bears (4-2) from the opening tip. Junior Ofa Sili led M-A with 17 points, Carly McLanahan had four 3-pointers and seven assists and Megan Sparrow scored and drew fouls in the paint and from the three-point line. Greer Hoyem finished with 12 points.
In Oakland, Eastside Prep got 18 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists from sophomore Kayla Tahaafe in a 60-42 victory over Oakland in the third-place game of the Paris Twins Classic at Piedmont High. Sophomore Ra'Anaa Bey added 16 points plus 11 rebounds for the Panthers (5-2) and freshman Zion Gabriel contributed 15 points as Eastside Prep finished 3-1 -- losing by only two points to Cardinal Newman on Friday.
Also in Oakland, Palo Alto played in the one-day Laney Shootout and shot down Napa, 62-39. The Vikings (5-1) grabbed a 15-3 lead after one quarter and made it 32-13 by halftime. Lauren Koyama (14 points), Carly Leong (12) and Skyler Burris (12) led Paly.
Palo Alto (3-0) won the Piedmont Hills Tournament by beating the host Pirates, 41-40, on Miles Tention's free throw.
In Atherton, host Sacred Heart Prep (1-4) dropped an 86-64 nonleague decision to Valley Christian. The Gators, who are missing at least two starters from the football team, fell behind by 19-7 after one quarter. Junior Tevin Panchal finished with 20 points and senior Connor Moses added 19 for the Gators, with each player making five 3-pointers. Valley Christian, meanwhile, made 14 treys in the game.
Palo Alto won its third match of the Oak Grove Tournament and qualified for the championship this weekend following a 3-0 semifinal victory over Andrew Hill on Saturday.
The Vikings (4-0) will host Sequoia on Monday in a nonleague match before playing in the tourney finale either Friday or Saturday.
Paly got the winning goal against Hill in the first half when Allesandro Reale scored off an assist from fellow senior Dami Bolarinwa at the 22:00 mark. In the second half, sophomore Xander Sherer scored off an assist from junior Michel-Ange Siaba. Four minutes later, Reale scored his second goal with an assist from junior Derek Schoenberger.
In Fremont, Menlo-Atherton scored all of its goals in the first half on the way to posting a 3-0 victory over Rancho Cotate in the third-place match of the Newark Memorial Winter Classic.
Kyle Smith provided the winning goal off an assist from Patrick Quinn. Jean Claverie made it 2-0 with Smith assisting. The Bears (3-1) wrapped things up with Riu Sakaguchi scoring off an assist from Quinn Rowland.
In Atherton, Sacred Heart got its first win of the season, a 2-1 nonleague decision over Scotts Valley. After the visitors scored in the first half, SHP (1-1-1) got the equalizer when Peter Love scored off an assist from AJ Hamer, who produced the game-winning goal later in the half on a penalty kick drawn by Trevor Peay. Matthew MacFarquhar battled in midfield and created a lot of chances for the Gators.
Palo Alto closed the 2015 portion of its season with a 1-0 nonleague victory over visiting San Benito. Natalie Maloney scored an unassisted goal in the 70th minutes, a follow up on a shot from close range that had missed. The Vikings improved to 5-0 and now have outscored the opposition 17-2.
Also in Palo Alto, host Gunn scored a goal in each half and posted a 2-0 nonleague soccer victory over visiting Castilleja (0-5). The Titans (2-3) got the eventual game-winning goal in the opening half when Lucy Augustine scored off an assist from Inger Smuts. In the second half, Malia Jefferson tallied with Robin Waymouth assisting.
Gunn opened its season by hosting the 12th annual Gunn Quad and came away with a 3-0 mark after defeating Salinas (43-24), Pioneer (57-13) and Serra (42-28). Pioneer was ranked No. 7 in the CCS while Serra came in No. 11. Gunn was unranked, but won the title for the sixth straight year.
"When a lot of your kids are new to the program, you never know how they are going to respond," said Chris Horpel, who has returned as head coach after retiring last winter. "I am happy to say they showed a lot of character and went to-to-toe with all three teams . . . having a full lineup didn't hurt."
Emily Milner (106), David Abramovitch (132) and Andy Maltz (285) all went 3-0 for Gunn during the one-day meet.