Boys basketball: St. Francis stakes claim to its holiday classic, again

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Palo Alto suffered its second loss of the season Friday night in the championship game of the 40th annual Joe Schram Holiday Basketball Classic.

Both by identical 62-59 scores, both times to teams from the West Catholic Athletic League.

“There’s no doubt Paly can play in the WCAL any day of the week,” said St. Francis coach Mike Motil, whose Lancers defended their turf to claim a fourth-straight title in the tournament.

That high praise for a public school team, but of little consolation to the Vikings (8-2) after a hard-fought loss in what resembled a playoff atmosphere.

“We gave up so many offensive rebounds,” Paly coach Peter Diepenbrock said. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but it just seemed like a lot. A lot of long rebounds they got to.”

St. Francis (9-1) was the beneficiary of multiple second-chance opportunities, but only if it managed to avoid turning the ball over against an aggressive Paly defense.

“We talked to our guys about that, ‘Look, you’re not going to get blocked out because there is nobody matching up on your because they’re too busy trapping or scrambling around,’ ” Motil said. “And when we finally figured out a little that if they’re going to make us go, then we just need to go and not be so tentative, which I kind of think we were in the first half.”

At halftime, St. Francis led 25-22, with Paly junior Max Dorward accounting for more than half of the scoring output for the Vikings. He finished with a game-high 20 points, including 12 prior…

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