Local notebook: Prep hoops polls, alumni news and commitments | News | Palo Alto Online |


Local notebook: Prep hoops polls, alumni news and commitments


Pinewood girls basketball coach Doc Scheppler has a small complaint about preseason and early season polls. He thinks they show absolutely nothing. And he'd say it again.

"Anything preseason is based on past performance," he said in advance of the Panthers' highly anticipated nonleague game with visiting Salesian at 7 p.m. Thursday. "It's usually about the good programs and an opinion by somebody."

Christian Fioretti/Oberlin Athletics
Pinewood junior Hannah Jump, the team's leading scorer after four games, was surprised to learn Pinewood was ranked third in the state by one publication and third in Northern California by another.

"I didn't know," she said. "But it doesn't matter. It's how we view ourselves that matters. Having people believe in us is nice but it's what we have to get done on the court."

Pinewood beat the Pride last year at the Bentley Shootout a little later in the season. Salesian has one game under its belt this year, a victory.

The Panthers went 4-0 and won the La Jolla Country Day Sweet 16 tournament over the weekend in San Diego. Jump was named the tournament MVP.

Of the 15 players who appeared in last year's January contest, 13 return for the latest competition. Pinewood lost seniors Akayla Hackson and Mikaela Topper.

The roles are reversed this year, with the Pride bringing four seniors to Los Altos Hills on Thursday. Bri Claros is Pinewood's lone senior.

Salesian is ranked fourth in NorCal, making this game an early indication of where the Panthers actually stand among the area's elite programs.

After Salesian, Pinewood hosts NorCal powerhouse Bishop O'Dowd on Saturday and WCAL power Valley Christian on Tuesday and then travels to Cardinal Newman.

The Eastside College Prep girls and the Palo Alto boys are also ranked among the top 20 in Northern California.

Alumni report

Christian Fioretti, a key member of the 2016 Menlo-Atherton basketball team that advanced to the Northern California Division I finals, had a breakthrough game Nov. 19 for Oberlin in an 81-80 win over Earlham.

Fioretti scored 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting and had five assists to pace the Yeomen to the win.

He followed up that hot-shooting performance with a 5-of-5 outing in Oberlin's next game, finishing with 14 points and seven assists in an 80-77 win over SUNY Cobleskill.

After seven games this season Fioretti is playing a team-high 30.9 minutes per game. He is averaging 10.3 points per game, making 66.7 percent of his field-goal attempts (28 of 42), 50 percent of his 3-pointers (7 of 14) and leads the team in assists with 29 while having committed only 15 turnovers.

Palo Alto grad Alison Lu was one of the reasons Williams College (22-1-1) won the NCAA Division III women's soccer title over the weekend.

The sophomore midfielder scored the game-winner in the Ephs' 1-0 semifinal victory over Hardin-Simmons and then played a strong game in Williams' 1-0 win over Chicago on Saturday.

In fact, Lu had a play on the ball that eventually found the back of the net off the foot of Natasha Albaneze.

"Natalie (Turner-Wyatt) played a great through ball and it was Alison and I running toward it and I called her off, which was a bold move considering she's definitely the best finisher on the team," Albaneze said. "After that I was like, 'I better score if I called Alison off the ball,' so I was happy I managed to put that one away."

Castilleja grad Julia Lodoen played for Chicago.


Defensive end Dimitri Sakalia has given an oral commitment to San Jose State, becoming the second member of the Menlo-Atherton football team to commit to a four-year college. Linebacker Kilifi Leaaetoa had earlier committed to Fresno State.

"Dimitri has a high ceiling at the next level,'' M-A coach Adhir Ravipati said. "He missed most of his junior year with an ankle injury, so his senior year were his first varsity snaps and he got better and better. He's 6-4, 250-plus and still growing with good length and athleticism. In college he will be a versatile player who can play multiple positions.''

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