The Menlo School boys’ basketball team advanced to the Central Coast Section Division IV championship game for the first time since winning it all in 2009 after the third-seeded Knights knocked off No. 2 Palma 64-53 Tuesday night at Menlo School.
Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Menlo's Jack Heneghan takes the ball right at Palma's Noah Allen during the Knights' 64-53 win in a CCS Division IV semifinal game Tuesday night.
“It’s a great win for the program,” said Menlo coach Delandro Leday. “I’m just happy for the boys.”
The Knights (19-7) will take on No. 4 Half Moon Bay in the championship game at 8 p.m. Friday at Foothill College.
Menlo had four players score in double figures, led by Jack Heneghan’s 15 points. Bobby Roth added 13, Ryan Young finished with 12 and Liam Dunn came off the bench to chip in with 11.
“We read the newspaper clippings that they had more talent,” Leday said. “But we have some guys who can score.”
Palma was led by UCLA-bound Noah Allen, who scored 17. Jacob Taylor also scored 17 for the Chieftains. Jacob Regester scored nine in the first half, but managed only one basket in the second to finish with 11.
“We just tried to have help on Allen,” Leday said. “We made sure we stuck to their shooters.”
The game was close the entire first half, but Palma (19-7) jumped out to a 5-0 lead and despite seeing Menlo tie the game at 8 and again 18, the Chieftains led after both the first quarter (16-15) and halftime (29-26).
In the second half, however, the Knights exploded 38 points. They scored 20 in the third quarter while limiting Palma to just eight points as Menlo turned a three-point halftime deficit into a nine-point advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Roth tied the game at 29 for the Knights by hitting a 3-pointer to open the third quarter. A bucket from Palma’s Regester put the Chieftains back up 33-32, but a 3-pointer from Menlo’s Ryan Young gave the Knights the lead for good, 35-33.
That basket keyed a 14-4 run by the Knights, who led 46-37 going into the fourth quarter. The Knights did a good job of driving to the basket and either getting a layup or kicking it out to the wing and knocking down a 3. They hit four of their six 3s in the second half.
“We found a rhythm (offensively),” Leday said.
Roth scored 11 of his 13 in the second half, while Young had eight of his 12 in the third and fourth quarters.
Menlo pushed its lead to 52-37 following a 3 from Dunn and a three-point play by Wes Miller and the Knights were threatening to run away with the game, but Palma responded with a 6-0 run to get within 10, but the Chieftains could not get enough stops to pull much closer.
“The good thing about this team is, we don’t have one or two guys we depend on,” Leday said. “It was just a great team effort.”