Paly hoopsters hit the road for NorCal title chase

I watched the second half of Paly’s CCS semifinals, Division I game against Carlmont last week and was suitably impressed. The guy I liked best was Number 35 who first came to mind when he stole a ball and very calmly beat his man for a layup. Later he broke the press, receiving a pass at mid-court, dribbled, turned up court and needed only two more bounces to beat two more men and get a neat right-hand reverse and spin layup. I learned later his name is Marvin Zou. (I filmed this; I happened to catch with my smartphone camera, and later texted the last bit freeze frame to Ken Dauber of the School Board and Tom Dubois of council).

Paly beat Piedmont Hills of San Jose a couple nights later; Piedmont had some individual talent but were streaky, too individualistic – -they almost got gutted by a gritty Cupertino team in the semis.

The papers say today that Paly tomorrow travels to Sonora for a matchup with the Wild Cats. Google claims that is 136 miles and or 2 1/2 hours in the bus.

Just for yucks — maybe because I saw my former Gunn math teacher David Struthers recently, maybe because Gunn’s former coach Chris Redfield teaches it now and maybe because I watch the Warriors on occassion with Steve and Eric Cohen, twin sons of Fields Prize winner Paul J. Cohen — I am calculating how many dribbles it would take Marvin Zou to get to Sonora High from Paly, assuming the same rate of 3 dribbles to cover half-court.

A court is 96 feet, or 48 for a half-court.

Six dribbles for full-court, for Zou, in game situations.

Mile is 5,280 feet. Or 55 courts. So for Zou, disregarding fatigue or potholes, a mile is 330 dribbles.

Three hundred thirty times 136 is the number of bounces it would take, on paper, Paly’s Marvin Zou to reach Sonora, for his quest for a NorCal championship. Forty four, eight eighty. (Nice round number: I wonder if he runs track, middle distance?) 44,880.

(That reminds me of the juggling conference at Paly — Steve and Eric Cohen invited me — where I met a guy who was balancing a small ball on his head. When I asked him how long he could keep it there, he answered by stating how far he had unicycled with such. (I have a picture of him, somewhere, and maybe his name. I’m certain he is not Bri).

Good luck to Paly. I am very Gunn-rabid, but come from the old school days when Palo Altans of every stripe rooted for their rivals once such advanced beyond league. One of my peak memories is when my Gunn team played in front of 5,000 fans at Maples Pavillion, against St. Ignatious of San Francisco. We lost by two. I only got as far as about a dozen layups pre-game. All the points were scored by the seniors. My classmate Brian DiBiaso was the only junior to get in and attempt even one shot. But the point is that not only did Paly root for Gunn, versus the all boys, parochial private schoolers from the City, but they formed a giant all-City pep band using musicians from both schools.

And also, in contrast, I have to admit I rooted for underdog Richmond versus home court favorites Paly in 2006 in that I was bitter about Jeremy Lin having enrolled at Paly not Gunn (despite attending JLS) and the further irony of Richmond’s star Wendell McKinness having to sit it out for saying “Fuck” in his section championship game (I was there). So I’m sort of saying Marvin Zou is the new Jeremy Lin, although the papers reported that another Chinese teammate scored eight consecutive points to beat Piedmont of San Jose, which was mostly black athletes. The other guy was muscular while Zou is reed-thin. (Cupertino meanwhile, now that I am playing the rice card,



The Palo Alto girls received the No. 11 seed in Division II and were sent to play at Del Norte of Crescent City. The game is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Del Norte High is 390 miles from Palo Alto High.

“We’re driving up right now,’’ Paly coach Scott Peters said when contacted by phone shortly before 7 p.m. on Monday. “And we’re going to have to go all the way to Medford on I-5 because 101 is closed due to a rock slide.’’

The team will stay the night in Medford, make the drive back over the state line into California to Crescent City on Tuesday, play the game and stay the night in Crescent City.

Then if Palo Alto finds a way to win the game and No. 3 Enterprise of Redding wins against 14th seeded Whitney, the Vikings will stay in the Northern reaches of the state in order to play Thursday in Redding.

And if the Vikings somehow find a way to win both those games they would most likely have to travel to play No. 2 seed Clovis for a game on Saturday.

One heavy-duty road trip. And school is in session this week.

“We’ll make the best of it,’’ Peters said. “A team bonding experience. And I’ve heard the whole town comes out for their games. The guy told me half the seats would be reserved for Palo Alto, how many fans did I think would attend?”

I told him, under 10,” Peters said with a laugh. “It should be a fun experience. We’ll give everything we’ve got.

“But you know what gets me mad? Silver Creek and Menlo-Atherton got the 1 and 2 seeds in Division IV and will play home games all through NorCals. Rewarding losing.’’

Palo Alto (22-4) advanced to the Central Coast Section Division I championship game with a 58-47 win over Menlo-Atherton. Sequoia, which beat Paly in the CCS championship game and received the No. 10 seed in NorCal Division II, beat Silver Creek in the other CCS semifinal 44-21. Sequoia, like Paly, is being sent on the road to Cosumnes Oaks.

“This competitive equity, they’re still figuring it out,” Peters said. “There’s something that needs to be tweaked to fix that. But then, nobody’s going to be happy. And the M-A girls, maybe some of those girls were on those teams that had to go up to the Open. So maybe it’s karma.”

Good luck to our girls but isn’t this a bit ridiculous?
I thought the boys had it bad driving to Sonora….(I just wrote something on my blog about there trip being the equivalent to 44,880 dribble drives by Marvin Zou.
Three hundred ninety miles?

Fifteen minutes later, I’m addending:
Instead of the 7-hour bus ride, why not expand the potential teaching moment by taking Public Transportation?
Have the student-athletes board CalTrain near home, switch to BART in Millbrae, ride up to the Amtrak hook-up in Martinez then take train to Arcata, and local 20 bus from there. It’s twice as long — 13 not 7 hours — but more scenic, democratic and gets away from the “bubble effect”.
While they are up there, visit the Pelican Bay Prison — Southern Oregon University has an academic visitation program — maybe they can ride-along with that.
There’s also of course the Redwoods and some state parks. And the ocean.
Personally, if I’m going 400 miles I’m gonna do more than play a game.
Maybe we can schedule Crescent of Del Norte pre-season in November and add on these educational opportunities.
Go, Vike gals!

Meanwhile, the wife and I just booked a trip to Sea Ranch. I wonder if they play hoops there? I was going to bring a racket, but in honor of Peters et al, I’m bringing my basketball jones.







About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
This entry was posted in sports, this blue marble and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s