It wasn't a work of art, but the De La Salle High basketball team accomplished its objective with a 35-25 win over Palo Alto on Wednesday night to open the Northern California Division I regional playoffs.

The Spartans rode a suffocating defense and a methodical offense and, though they fumbled around in the second half, they are happy to be moving on.

How tough was the Spartans' defense?

They limited the No. 11 seeded Vikings, who had been averaging 61.3 points a game, to five points in the first half.

"We defend. That's always been the story here," Spartans coach Frank Allocco said. "We rely on that down the stretch, and we always feel that's going to keep us in games. Sometimes it's not as pretty as it could be, but it gets the job done."

The sixth-seeded Spartans (25-4) will travel to No. 3 San Leandro in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Pirates beat Bethel 74-55 Wednesday in the first round.

After being put in a De La Salle sleeper hold in the first half, Paly (23-4) made a game of it in the second. The Vikings surged from a 21-5 halftime deficit to trail 26-19 after Vikings' standout Aubrey Dawkins' field goal in the fourth quarter.

"The second half, I didn't think we played real well." Allocco said. "We didn't execute as well as we had been in the first half, particularly on defense. They got on a run, where they scored six out of eight possessions after we'd shut them down pretty well."


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Dawkins led the Vikings with 14 points, and Elliott Pitts paced the Spartans with 11 points. Pitts scored on a pretty alley-oop dunk off a Mike Inman pass during a devastating second quarter for the Spartans, who outscored the Vikings 11-1 over the stretch.

After Palo Alto cut the deficit to seven in the fourth quarter, Inman answered with a 3-pointer. Then the Spartans got sloppy on offense and did not score another field goal the rest of the game. Pitts made all four of his free-throw attempts in the final 36 seconds to salt away the win.

Piedmont Hills-San Jose 63, Oakland 56: J.J. Espanola and Walter Bateast scored 18 points apiece, and Ray Lowe poured in 16 as the Pirates claimed a Division I NorCal win at Oakland (18-12).

The Pirates (24-7) advance to the second round and will play at Pleasant Grove on Saturday at 7 p.m.

This is the second year in a row Piedmont Hills has won a NorCal playoff game. The Pirates won a first-round game last year over Freedom, but fell to NorCal champion and state runner-up Sheldon in the second round.

Espanola, who sat on the bench most of the second quarter with foul trouble, connected on five 3-pointers. The fifth gave the Pirates a commanding 46-28 lead with 2:22 left in the third quarter. Lowe hit four 3-pointers and Bateast connected on three.

The Pirates outscored Oakland 24-7 in a crucial third quarter.

Oakland, which was paced by Justin Gains' 15 points and six rebounds, played without four suspended players -- three of whom were starters.

"They were suspended because of a coach's decision," Oakland coach Orlando Watkins said.

Oakland also got 13 points from Jimarre Billups, who also grabbed eight rebounds.

"My decision was easy, they made a bad choice," Watkins said. "We told our players they had the opportunity to step up."

-- Steve R. Waterhouse, correspondent

McClymonds 53, Santa Teresa-San Jose 34: The Warriors (22-7), who never trailed, allowed the Saints (17-12) only four field goals in the second half and 10 in the game at Oakland Tech.

The Warriors held a slim 7-6 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter, but a dunk by Tahjee Williams started a 10-2 McClymonds run. The Warriors led by at least 10 points for the final nine minutes of the game.

McClymonds' Denzell Bellott had eight of his team-high 12 points in the first half. Other double-digit scorers for the Warriors were Dalvin Guy and Williams, who both had 11 points.

Tajai McGehee had a game-high 15 points for Santa Teresa, including eight in the third quarter. He had six of the Saints' 10 field goals.

-- Phil Jensen

Campolindo 58, Burlingame 50: The visiting Cougars went on a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter to take a 10-point lead and help advance in the Division III NorCal playoff. The Cougars advance to play at No. 2 El Cerrito in the second round on Saturday.

Points in transition was a big factor in the outcome. Matt McCue, Chris Hansen and then McCue again scored on layups in that 9-0 run.

"That's what we are all about," Campo coach Matt Watson said. "We like to play fast."

Andrew Zolotakis led the Cougars with 15 points.

-- Glenn Reeves

Head-Royce 64, Pinewood 56: Ryan Diew scored 24 points to lead the Jayhawks in a Division V first-round game in Los Altos Hills. He had 17 points in the fourth period.

Pinewood kept it close. The Panthers trailed 43-38 after three periods and got within one with 7:11 to play when a drive by Josh Rose cut the Jayhawks' lead to 43-42.

Diew then hit a 3-pointer for 48-42 lead, and Pinewood couldn't recover in a foul-plagued game that saw four players foul out.

Three other Head-Royce players scored in double digits: Nico Dorado had 11, Scott Miller had 13 and Sammy Greenwall had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Greg Naumann had 15 points for Pinewood, 14 after halftime.

Owen Lewis had 10 for Pinewood, as did Rose.

-- John Reid, Palo Alto Daily News