Palo Alto matched Salesian's defensive intensity for most of the night and nearly pulled off an upset Saturday in a nonleague boys basketball contest.
In the end, the Pride's 3-point shooting accuracy and ability to get to the free throw line proved the difference in Salesian's 65-57 victory over the Vikings.
Palo Alto (2-2) hosts Carlmont (4-3) in a nonleague game next Saturday at 6 p.m.
Salesian (6-0) came into the game with an average margin of victory of 28.4 points. The Vikings never backed down, taking a 32-24 halftime lead on the strength of four second-quarter 3-pointers from Spencer Rojahn, who finished with six 3s and 20 points.
The Pride came out of halftime and hit their first nine shots, seven of them 3-pointers. They went on a 22-6 run and never trailed afterward.
Max Dorward scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half to keep the Vikings close. He recorded a steal and went the length of the court for a layup that drew Paly within 51-49 of Salesian early in the fourth quarter but the Pride hit consecutive 3s and the Vikings could not recover.
The game was marred by Jared Wulbrun's right ankle injury early in the second quarter. He's one of Paly's top shooters and ballhandlers. The Vikings had some difficulty with Salesian's full court pressure afterward. Wulbrun left the gym on crutches.
Palo Alto celebrated Alumni Night and drew nearly 50 of their distinguished grads. Among those in attendance were Earl Hansen, the retired football coach and athletic director who led the 2010 team to the first state title in Central Coast Section history.
Four members of the 1993 state Division III basketball championship team were on hand: Dave Weaver, Josh Wetzel, Dave Jefferson and Vonn Sumner.
In other games, Menlo-Atherton beat Leland, 58-52, in the third-place contest of the DJ Frandsen Memorial Tournament at Bellarmine. The Bears (2-4) host Sacred Heart Prep at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Pinewood topped visiting Alma Heights Christian, 79-65. The Panthers (6-3) open league play at Menlo School on Jan. 3.
Woodside downed visiting Harker, 70-55, in a nonleague game Saturday. The Wildcats (6-2) have won four of their last five and visit St. Francis for a 3 p.m. game on Friday.
Gunn (3-6) lost at Los Altos (4-4), 39-20, on Saturday in a nonleague game. The Titans host Evergreen Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
You have one senior on the team. She's going to get the ball with the game on the line. Never mind she had a terrible shooting night. You trust experience and it pays off.
Bri Claros hit a shot at the buzzer to lift the Pinewood girls basketball team past host Cardinal Newman, 53-52, in a nonleague contest that had the feel of something important.
The Panthers (7-1) got a little revenge for their 2-point loss to Cardinal Newman in last season's NorCal Open Division Regional semifinal. This may have been a preview of a rematch in March.
Pinewood will have a little extra time to digest the start of its season. Lowell-San Francisco is next on the schedule in the first round of the St. Francis Holiday Classic on Dec. 28.
Klara Astrom continued performing at a high level. She produced a double-double, her first of the season, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She's reached double figures in scoring in all but one game and averages 16.6 a game.
After recording 22 rebounds over her first four games, Astrom has added 33 more the past four and averages 6.9 boards.
Hannah Jump, who averages 15.9 points a game, added 15 against Cardinal Newman on 6-of-11 shooting. She also had six rebounds.
Trinity Copeland added a season-high eight rebounds. Olivia Williams had six boards and blocked a shot. She's blocked a shot in each of her past three games after recording one her first five.
Valley Christian beat Priory, 60-43, in the Presentation Shootout. The Panthers (2-5) led at halftime, 23-22, before the Warriors went on a 23-7 run in the third quarter.
Priory meets Miramonte (4-2) at 3 p.m. in the first round of the Notre Dame-Belmont tournament Thursday.
Woodside beat visiting Harker, 51-40, on Saturday and hosts Menlo School at 4 p.m. Thursday in a nonleague match.
Freshman Kyle Nilsson and senior co-captain Brian Pica each scored a goal in the second half as Sacred Heart Prep overcame a halftime deficit to beat visiting Palma, 2-1, in a nonleague match.
Brian Tinsley and Liam Johnson recorded the assists for the Gators (3-2), who travel to Serra for a game on Dec. 30.
Diana Morales scored twice to help Menlo-Atherton beat Salinas, 3-1, and finish in a third-place tie in the Gold Division of the Fremont Firebird Classic on Saturday.
Monica Burgos added an unassisted goal for the Bears (7-2), who are off until Jan. 9, when they resume PAL Bay Division play at Carlmont at 4:30 p.m.
Morales scored on a penalty kick and was then assisted by Yara Gomez Zavala.
Woodside beat host Terra Nova, 2-1, in a PAL match Saturday. The Wildcats (1-1-2, 1-1) next play at Burlingame on Jan. 9.
Sacred Heart Prep (1-6) lost to St. Ignatius, 3-0, at the Fremont Firebird Classic. The Gators play again on Jan.3 against visiting Mitty.
Menlo lost to San Benito, 5-2, in the Firebird Classic. The Knights (1-6-1) are off until a home meeting with Priory on Jan. 9.