Girls’ Basketball: Vikings edge Saratoga 43-39

Edward Mei, Author

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Freshman guard Maddy Atwater attempts a three in last night’s game against the league-rival Saratoga Falcons. Atwater led all scorers with 15 points, and the Vikings improved to 2-0 in league play to stay in first place of the De Anza Division. The Vikings’ next match will be played at 6:15 p.m. tomorrow against the Lynbrook Vikings. Photo by Edward Mei

As residents of Palo Alto brace for the rainy season, a different kind of storm brewed inside the Palo Alto High School Gymnasium Wednesday night. For the Paly girls’ basketball team (6-7, 2-0), it was raining threes, as the Vikings used a three point attack to slip past the Saratoga Falcons (11-4, 0-3) 43-39.

Led by freshman Maddy Atwater’s game-high 15 points, the Vikings heavily relied on the three ball, netting seven threes in the game. Atwater had three triples, including back-to-back threes in the final two minutes of the game to seal the victory for the Vikings.

“We were motivated today, and the coach provided us with lots of energy,” Atwater said. “My teammates definitely helped in supporting me, and it’s nice to have my team there, even when I miss.”

Despite dominating the boards early and holding on to a 15-10 lead with five minutes left in the first half, the Vikings allowed the Falcons to storm back with an 8-0 run to regain the lead just before the half.

In that second quarter stretch, the Falcons’ stingy zone defense trapped the Vikings, forced them into taking contested shots and committing unnecessary turnovers.

“We didn’t control the pace as much as we needed to,” Paly head coach Scott Peters said. “We didn’t get what we wanted to out of the press so we went to the half-court trapping zone. The adjustment the girls made in the second half with the trap was key.”

The Falcons jumped out with a quick baseline jumper and a corner three to start the third quarter, but the Vikings ended with an 11-2 run to take a 30-28 lead going into the fourth.

In the second half, junior Charlotte Alipate came off the bench and delivered in big ways, injecting energy and hustle into a stagnant Vikings offense, according to Peters.

“That’s what we need from Charlotte,” Peters said. “She was a huge factor for us tonight.”

Alipate finished the game with eight points by dominating in the paint, grabbing offensive rebounds, converting put-backs and finishing around the rim.

“Charlotte did great going to the boards, we really needed that,” Atwater said. “Having her there to get those putbacks, definitely helped us all out.”

Junior forward Charlotte Alipate and freshman guard Siggi Bengston check into the game in the third quarter of last night’s home game against the Saratoga Falcons. Alipate poured in eight points, Bengston recorded nine points and the Vikings went on to defeat the Falcons 43-39. Photo by Edward Mei

The Vikings are now 2-0 in league play and are tied for first atop the SCVAL De Anza Division with Gunn High School (9-3, 2-0) and Lynbrook High School (12-2, 2-0).

The Vikings will take on the Lynbrook Vikings next, at 6:15 p.m. Friday when they travel to Lynbrook High School.