Palo Alto’s basketball teams are both in the SCVAL’s top division, the De Anza, while Gunn’s are in the weaker El Camino Division. But the matchup between the two public schools from Palo Alto and district rivals is a must-see event for many local residents.
Witness the packed house Saturday night at Gunn.
“Even if we’re not in the same division this is a game that should be played every year,’’ Palo Alto boys coach Jeff LaMere said. “It’s wonderful for the community. How often do you see both sides of the bleachers pulled out at a high school game? It’s wonderful for the players to play in front of that kind of environment.’’
As expected, Palo Alto came out on top of both games, 50-35 in the boys game and 58-19 in the girls game. But on this occasion a higher cause was served as the games also functioned as a fundraiser — put on by the Gunn Foundation and Rise Together Education — for students from lower-income families in the Palo Alto Unified School District.
The Palo Alto boys won their fifth in a row and improved to 12-4 on the season. Matthew Marzano led the Vikings in scoring, as he has often done this season, with 16 points. Four of his five field goals came from 3-point range. LaMere was also happy with the contributions made by some less frequently used players.
“I brought in five guys off the bench in the middle of the first quarter, something I hadn’t done before, and it wasn’t just a gimmick,’’ LaMere said. “It was a testament to how hard they’ve been working in practice. Elijah Steiner gave us a spark.’’
Paly needed some new guys to contribute with Conner Lusk, the team’s second-leading scorer, out with an arm injury suffered Friday against Homestead.
Lusk, dressed in street clothes with his arm in a sling, said he would find out on Monday whether or not he had suffered a fracture.
Luke McFaul led Gunn with nine points.
In the girls game, Palo Alto only led 13-9 at the end of the first quarter, but extended the lead to 33-17 at halftime and 53-17 after a 20-0 third quarter.
Kaella Peters led Paly with 12 points on four 3-pointers. Ilayda Turgut scored 10 points. Mollie Kuelker paced the Titans with 11 points.
Palo Alto (10-4, 4-0) hosts Lynbrook (12-2, 4-0) in a key De Anza Division matchup on Tuesday.