Menlo News February 27, 2024

NorCals: Girls’ basketball falls just short

CCS champion Knights fall to Foothill-Palo Cedro

On the heels of a CCS Championship victory, the Menlo girls’ basketball team fell just short in a 68-64 loss to Foothill at Palo Cedro on Tuesday evening.
The No. 13 Knights (17-10) led the No. 4 seeded Cougars (21-9) 34-28 at halftime before Foothill got the hot hand in the third quarter. Menlo junior Karen Xin unleashed a torrent of threes finishing with seven three-pointers, and 31 points. Fellow junior Ruiqi Liu tallied 26, including 21 in the second and third quarters. Senior Summer Young grabbed seven rebounds and three assists sophomore Sophie Housser added five rebounds and four points.
It was the first season for the Knights under new coach Ryan Cooper, who led the team to a 6-4 finish in league and the program’s 10th section title. Menlo started the season in the Mills Tournament, advancing to the final, falling by 10 points to Pinewood, and ended the season in the running for a state bid.
“I believe anytime you set out at the beginning of a season you have an ultimate goal of being crowned a section champion,” Cooper said. “We got better as a whole as we spent more time together, and we reached our goal of a three-peat in Div. IV.”
Cooper calls this team coachable, selfless, relentless, and responsive.
“From Day One, I brought an intensity around my coaching style that challenged a lot of our players,” said Cooper, who was an assistant for San Jose State’s women’s basketball team in his last coaching job before coming to Menlo. “They always responded and showed up!”
It was a last ride for four seniors, who have been in the program since they were freshmen - Arthi Abhyanker, Ana Banchs, Paige Miller, and Summer Young
Menlo School 14 20 12 18 - 64
Foothill 11 17 22 18 - 68
M: Housser 2 0-0 4, Xin 11 2-2 31, Liu 8 7-8 26, Arthi Abhyanker 1 1-2 3. Total: 11 10-12 64.