It’s always a big event for Menlo-Atherton coach Mike Molieri when he goes up against Half Moon Bay and Rich Forslund, his mentor in Molieri’s years as an assistant at Half Moon Bay and Riordan.
So he was plenty pleased to come out with a 56-47 win Saturday at Menlo-Atherton.
“It’s always fun to play Rich, we had some fun at Half Moon Bay,’’ Molieri said. “This was our best game overall this year. I think Half Moon Bay is the favorite to win the (PAL) North, to be in the final four at the PAL tournament and to compete at CCS."
M-A improved to 7-3 as it prepares to begin Peninsula Athletic League South Division play Wednesday vs. San Mateo.
“Sequoia’s the team to beat in the South,’’ Molieri said of the 10-2 Cherokees.
Other teams will be keeping their eye on M-A as well. The Bears are the defending PAL South and PAL tournament champions.
M-A led just 22-18 at halftime, but stretched its lead in the third quarter, going up by 10 at 38-28 on a basket by Logan Faberowski. The Bears had a 40-30 lead heading into the final quarter.
“In the first half we let them determine the speed of the game and it was too slow for us,’’ Molieri said. “We don’t feel comfortable keeping teams in the 40s, we’re not good enough defensively. I felt that if this game was in the 40s we’d lose, but if it was in the 50s we’d win.’’
Half Moon Bay (5-5) never got closer than six points in the fourth quarter.
“The tale of the game was their shooting,’’ Forslund said. “They made 10 3s. When our guards were shooting it was like the basket had a lid on it. I stopped counting after I saw five shots that went in and out.”
Kai Winterling led M-A with 13 points. Eric Norton had 11. Ethan Menzies, a 6-foot-6 junior, led Half Moon Bay with 16 points.
Menlo-Atherton wrapped up its nonleague schedule with a dominant performance at home, beating Half Moon Bay, 71-34.
The Bears (11-1) trailed only once at the beginning of the game when Half Moon Bay got the first two points on the board but the Bears used their diverse offense to pull ahead and push their lead each quarter.
By halftime, the Bears were ahead, 45-25, with seven team members contributing to the score.
In the second half, the Bears' smothering defense held the Cougars to just 9 points.
Nine players scored for the Bears, led by junior Greer Hoyem, who scored 19.
Sophomore Mele Kailahi contributed 16 and junior Stella Kailahi added 11.
Menlo-Atherton hosts San Mateo at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in its PAL Bay Division opener.
Elsewhere, Menlo School posted a 61-59 victory over Bradshaw Christian-Sacramento in the Pittsburg High Shootout on Saturday.
The Knights (9-4) open West Bay Athletic League with a home game Tuesday at 5 p.m., against Priory (8-4).
Against Bradshaw Christian, senior guard Sam Erisman was the player of the game with 23 points including 12 in the fourth quarter.
At the Miramonte Shootout, Ra'Anaa Bey and Zion Gabriel combined for 21 points and Eastside College Prep beat Antelope, 46-37 and Pinewood thumped Saint Joseph-Notre Dame, 66-46.
Hannah Jump led the Panthers with 16 points while Mikaela Topper added 12.
Pinewood (11-2) hosts Eastside Prep (10-4) in a WBAL opener at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Palo Alto (8-3) fell to Castro Valley, 55-45, in a nonleague game. The Vikings host Mountain View at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a league game.
Lauren Koyama scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Carly Leong added 12 points and Ellie Jeffries shared team lead in rebounds with Koyama.
Palo Alto's Calvin Grewal (120), Andrew Wang (126) and Seth Goyal (132) each won individual titles at the Cupertino Bianchini Tournament on Saturday.
Gunn's Ido Enav reached the championship of the 138 division before losing. He went 4-1 in the tournament, which included a pin over Paly's Ben Bernstein in 1:36.
Gunn's 285-pounder Andy Maltz finished third, pinning his final opponent in 1:25.
Gunn's Thomas Chang-Davids reached the semifinals at the 170 level but did not place.
Paly's Aidan Gans finished fifth at 160 pounds.
Goyel improved to 17-0 on the season, pinning Sequoia's Masa Danovitz at 3:50 in the title match.
Wang topped Cupertino's Alex Cruz in 4:49 to win the title and Grewal pinned Piedmont Hills in 4:37 in his final.
The Titans have a bye this week but will travel to the San Ramon Invitational on Saturday.
In girls action, Gunn's Kayla Lin placed second in the 131 division at the Cupertino Ruppel/Dusty tournament, recording a pair of pins before losing in the championship round.
Kara Kacobsen placed sixth at 121, recording a pin along the way. Lola Robinson and Natali Jue also wrestled for the Titans.
Palo Alto's Masako Perez placed third in the 131 division, recording three pins, each in under 30 seconds.
Woodside's Anya Zabaneh recorded a pair of pins en route to winning the 143 division.