DALY CITY, Calif. — Teams from the Peninsula Athletic League triumphed over foes from San Francisco in all four games of the opening round of the 2019 edition of Jefferson’s Bud Bresnahan Blue and Gold Classic, highlighted by Hillsdale’s win over University without the services of two starters and comebacks by both Carlmont and Jefferson.
Hillsdale 51, University 47
The Fighting Knights showed off both their depth and versatility to pick up a signature win despite the absence of starters Oliver Crank (knee) and Calvin Mader-Clark (illness). Add in a third starter, Reece Nobida, battling foul trouble and Hillsdale (3-0) was forced to dig deep into the bench, getting contributions from role players at every turn to top the Red Devils.
“It’s wonderful to go out and play and give opportunities to people who don’t get a lot of minutes,” said Nick Robinson, who had 16 points and nine rebounds in the win. “It’s a chance for them to say, ‘hey, I’ve been working really hard in practice and I want to go out and play.’ We’re a team, and we bond together really well.”
Robinson and Junior Cotton (18 points, 12 rebounds) teamed up to lead a Hillsdale program that’s put an end to the days of one-dimensional basketball. While teams prepping to face the Fighting Knights used to be able to cash in on offensive rebounds and pick apart holes in a 2-3 zone defense all game, this experienced group has patched up those gaps.
“We’ve been working a lot in the offseason,” said Cotton, a four-year varsity player who took his lumps as an underclassman but established his authority and experience on the court Thursday night. “It’s just all coming together right now.”
Cotton and Robinson scored six straight points to give Hillsdale the lead for good at the start of the fourth, with Cotton using his long arms to drive through the lane and convert an off-balance runner for a 39-36 advantage. Even when University (2-1) finally got going from outside, getting 3-pointers on consecutive possessions from Gavin McDonnell and Raki Cabrera-Scarlata, Cotton was there with a three of his own in between.
For the most part, points were hard to come by for the Red Devils. They did close the second quarter on an 11-2 run to take a one-point halftime lead off a last-second Cabrera-Scarlata layup, but that was preceded by a stretch of more than five minutes without a basket from the field. Hillsdale’s lone basket in that stretch to close the half was a mid-range shot from Garen Vehouni, who scored four points in his first substantial minutes of the season after Nobida’s fouls mounted up.
Cabrera-Scarlata, who led University with 13, did cut the lead to 47-45 with 3:17 left on a pair of free throws, but the Devils would miss their next five shots, bailing out the Knights as they made just two of four free throws during that stretch.
“We had a bad shooting night, but to their credit, they did a great job handling our pressure and defending in the half-court,” University head coach Randy Bessolo said. “They were under-handed, and it was a hell of an effort on their part. It was a great win on their part; they deserved it.”
Matthew Chan, who had six points and four assists, hit a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds left to make it a two-possession game after Whitner Reichman had scored for University. McDonnell finished with 11 for the Red Devils, including a pair of third-quarter threes to tie the game before a Charlie Kennedy and-1 gave them the lead to close the quarter. The loss marks University’s first opening-round defeat in the tournament since 2015.
Carlmont 45, Lowell 43
Maybe father doesn’t always know best.
Miles Ozorio’s steal with 5.2 seconds left to cap off Carlmont’s come-from-behind win over the Lowell Cardinals wasn’t a product of his father’s coaching, but rather the advice of assistant coach Scott Jacobs.
“Scott recommended we go with Miles, and it worked out for us there,” head coach Ron Ozorio said.
The younger Ozorio scored just four points but made his minutes count, giving the Scots the lead at the end of the third quarter with his lone field goal of the night and making one of two free throws with 0.7 left to seal the victory following his steal to save a one-point advantage.
Having graduated all five starters from last year’s 22-7 team, contributions from players like Ozorio will be key as Carlmont (1-1) introduces a new roster to the grind. Aside from point guard Abram Guldbech, who scored 10 points, and forward Joe Seaman, who scored all six of his in the second half, the Scots seldom play anyone who saw the court last season outside of the end of blowouts. Ozorio and Daniel Awad, whose 3-pointer tied the game at 35 late in the third, have been among the players who have stepped up thus far. Awad scored a team-high 12 points, including a three-point play to start the fourth, and 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Timothy Netane added 11, opening the second half with an and-1 to help the Scots overcome a sluggish start.
“We allowed 17 points in the first half and 20 in the third quarter,” Lowell head coach Rob Ray said. “Guys need to step up.”
The Cardinals rolled to a 13-4 lead out of the gate behind the efforts of seniors Cal Ladine and Rishi Raghavan, who scored all of their points in the first quarter and 38 of their 43 on the night. Ladine had a game-high 26 and completed his double-double with 11 rebounds, sending the Cardinals into the break up six with one of his three 3-pointers on the night. The Scots evened it at 32 on a Guldbech 3-pointer, but Ladine struck again to put Lowell (1-1) back in front before the Awad 3-pointer and Ozorio basket closed the quarter. Raghavan scored five straight after Awad’s baseline floater put Carlmont up six, banking in a three with 50 seconds left. A traveling violation against the Scots gave the ball to Lowell with 22.5 left, but Ozorio got the steal in the final moments, all but sealing the game as the Cardinals had to foul four times before finally sending Carlmont to the charity stripe. Even though Ozorio missed his second free throw, Ladine had less than a second to fire off a desperation heave that fell well short to give the Scots their first victory on the season.
Jefferson 51, Galileo 47
TQ Byrd wasn’t going to let his Grizzlies lose in the first round of their own tournament for a second year in a row.
“We thought about it the whole year,” the Jefferson senior said after scoring a game-high 20 points. “We had to get this one back.”
It looked bleak for the hosts, staring at a 12-point deficit with 7:24 left after an Abdul Ali and-1, but Jefferson (1-1) ratcheted up the defense to kick off a 19-3 run to finish the game.
“TQ’s a fiery guy, and today he was always, ‘next play, next play, next play,’” head coach John Falabella said. “He helped the guys stick together and believe in each other. He did a fantastic job as an extension of myself on the court, delivering the right message and keeping guys focused. That focus was key to us getting this victory.”
Byrd started the run with an and-1, and back-to-back Lions turnovers led to free throws by Kingsley Uzoma and Byrd to cut the lead to one with 2:30 left. Daniel Li answered by scoring off an inbound to put Galileo (1-2) back up by three, but Saif Fara would draw Asa Mobley’s fifth foul with 1:02 left and split a pair from the line. Though Fara made just three of seven free throws on the night, he’d finish with 11 points and 10 rebounds while playing stellar defense in the fourth quarter, creating the turnover to lead to Uzoma’s game-tying layup. After the Lions gave it up yet again on the following possession, Byrd would draw a foul and split a pair of free throws to take the lead, then made one of two again with 3.8 seconds left. The second of those shots missed, but Uzoma grabbed it and followed with a putback to close the game.
Uzoma had 12 while Mobley and Li shared high-point honors for Galileo with nine. The Lions erupted for a 21-point second quarter, closing the half on a 19-6 run to take the lead into the break behind threes from Robby Lee and Mobley, an advantage that would have been larger had Byrd not drained a pair of threes in the quarter. That momentum would continue into the third, where four of Chris Luu’s six points and a three from Anson Wen put them up nine.
Luu feasted on the glass en route to a 10-rebound night, taking advantage of the extra space provided with Jefferson’s Brooks Daniels picking up his fourth foul less than a minute into the third quarter. Fara answered that down the stretch with strong interior defense, and the quickness of Byrd and Uzoma helped lead the Grizzlies to their first win of the year, a triumph that wasn’t easy but was made all the more rewarding by the path it took to get there.
Aragon 61, Wallenberg 51
Playing their first full game without starting forward Matthew Mukai, out roughly two weeks with a sprained ankle, the Dons struggled to pull away but led from the second quarter on in a victory over the Bulldogs. After Wallenberg (1-1) went on a 12-4 cut the lead to four with two minutes left, Murphy Caffo scored off a Dennis Fasnacht pass to put Aragon (3-0) back in command, and Jace Jeremiah sealed the win by making four of six free throws down the stretch. Jeremiah scored 17 for the Dons, who also got 13 from Derek Morimoto, 12 from Caffo and nine from Ryan Victory. Wallenberg’s Ryan Fong led all scorers with 18 and Isaac Creswell scored 17.