Palo Alto seeks a berth in state Division I championship | March 17, 2017 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - March 17, 2017

Palo Alto seeks a berth in state Division I championship

The ninth-seeded Vikings have exceeded all expectations

by Glenn Reeves

Palo alto boys basketball coach Peter Diepenbrock began his high school basketball playing career on the Burlingame frosh-soph team in 1978. His coach was a recent Burlingame graduate, a 24-year-old by the name of Doc Scheppler, currently coaching the Pinewood girls team.

Over the years, Scheppler has become renowned for his expertise in teaching the art of shooting. Diepenbrock was asked what Scheppler was like then, fresh out of college.

"He taught me everything I know about shooting,'' Diepenbrock said.

Palo Alto earned a shot at Saturday's NorCal regional Division I final by beating St. Mary's of Stockton at San Joaquin Delta College, 75-63.

Diepenbrock learned a lot.

"He really fires you up with his halftime speeches," Vikings junior 6-4-1/2 forward Max Dorward said. "He can get you going."

Dorward is one of Paly's top scorers, who prefers driving to the basket than firing up 3-pointers, of which he's attempted maybe three or four all season.

"I let the other guys do that," he said. "They're better at it than I am."

No. 9 seed Palo Alto (26-4) plays No.3 James Logan (27-5) at 4 p.m. at Santa Clara University for a chance to reach the st

Dorward scored 27 points in the Vikings victory over the Rams, 18 in the second half. He also scored 10 of his 12 points in an opening round NorCal game against Fremont.

Palo Alto beat Los Gatos on a last-second shot to win the CCS title at Santa Clara.

The Vikings are the lowest seed left of any Division and gender in Northern California. Only No. 13 Pasadena in Division II is seeded lower and still playing.

Of course, Paly was oh-so-close to being selected for the Open Division, and perhaps its performance to date shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Spencer Rojahn had the hot hand early, scoring 20 of his 24 points in the first half, all on 3-pointers and a pair of free throws.

The Vikings grabbed the early advantage and maintained a respectful distance from the Rams the rest of the way.

Palo Alto shot a decent 68 percent from the foul line while the Rams struggled at just over 38 percent. The Rams were also 13 percent from 3-point land.

The Vikings also out-rebounded the Rams, 44-43, with Rojahn leading the way. He grabbed nine of them while the omnipresent Miles Tention grabbed seven of them to go with his 10 assists and his 6-of-8 effort from the foul line, all in the final period.

Paly and James Logan have played two common opponents in Burlingame and Dublin. Logan lost to Dublin by three in the section tournament and beat the Panthers, 82-41.

The Vikings just knocked off the Gaels by three and beat Burlingame, 81-41.

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