Palo Alto gets back on track with boys basketball victory

Palo Alto ended a two-game slide with a lop-sided victory over visiting Carlmont on Saturday. Photo by David Hickey.

The Palo Alto boys basketball team had lost its last two games. Never mind that both of those losses were to good teams, Menlo School and Salesian, a couple of teams that have yet to lose a game this season.

The Vikings aren’t accustomed to two-game losing streaks. They wanted to get back on the winning track Saturday and did so in emphatic fashion with a 72-26 landslide of a victory over Carlmont for their first win in their deluxe new gym.

Both teams came in at .500, Palo Alto at 2-2, Carlmont at 4-4. But this game was as one-sided as could be from the beginning as Palo Alto jumped out to a 14-0 lead.

It was 20-6 after one quarter and 36-15 at halftime. Carlmont shot 5 of 25 in the first half while Paly made 14 of 31.

And then matters got worse for the Scots, who made only one field goal in the second half. Palo Alto extended its lead to 59-21 after three quarters and a running clock was employed in the fourth quarter.

Max Dorward led Paly with 23 points. Spencer Rojahn made five of Palo Alto’s 11 3-pointers and scored 17 points.

“We haven’t played a lot against a zone, so it was good we had a chance to work on that,’’ Palo Alto coach Peter Diepenbrock said. “We made some good passes and good decisions. And we did some good things defensively, guarding the ball and making it tough to score.’’

With starting guard Jared Wulbrun out after suffering a sprained ankle against Salesian, Diepenbrock decided to move Bryant Jefferson into the starting lineup and go with a big frontline of Jefferson, Dorward and Will Schlemmer, and move the 6-3 Rojahn to the backcourt along with point guard Will Schmutz.

Diepenbrock was pleased with the play of Marvin Zou, who got extended minutes at point guard. Zou only made one field goal, a 3-pointer, but contributed in other ways, for example blocking two shots in a row at the end of the third quarter.

“Marvin does a lot of good things,’’ Diepenbrock said.

So it was a nice, positive sendoff for Palo Alto, which will head to Hawaii for four games in four days, Wednesday through Saturday, before returning to the mainland to open league play Jan. 3 at Cupertino.

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