CASTRO VALLEY — After watching an early 11-point lead vanish, Oakland Tech stopped living on the perimeter and worked their way inside for a season-opening road win over Castro Valley.
Oakland Tech (1-0) raced out to an early 16-5 advantage before briefly trailing in the second quarter and going into the half with just a 33-30 lead on a Timothy Thomas 3-pointer, signaling to head coach Karega Hart that it was time for a change.
“They played zone for most of the first half, so we kind of changed our zone offense and focused on attacking the middle first,” said Hart, whose ninth season at Oakland Tech opened on a winning note. “We carved out space and were able to work inside-out.”
With hulking 6-foot-8 center James Arterberry down low, the adjustments paid off instant dividends. He went scoreless in the first half put put in back-to-back layups to open the third quarter, and after Jacob Harris stretched the lead to eight with his fourth 3-pointer of the night, Arterberry scored off a putback to answer a lay-in by Castro Valley big man Devin Green, a 6-8 junior who held his own inside and scored on a pair of 17-foot shots from the baseline.
Green had nine points and nine rebounds, but Castro Valley (0-1) simply couldn’t keep up with the Bulldogs once they started working it inside. McNeals Leke’s 3-pointer with 5:11 left in the third quarter opened up an 11-point lead, and the Trojans would never get within double-digits again on the night. A pair of Harris free throws with 2:49 left in the third grew the lead to 53-37, and when Arterberry split a pair of free throws with 5:16 left in the game, the lead grew to 17.
Harris was the story early on, starting the game with back-to-back threes, part of an 11-point first quarter. Castro Valley responded with a 9-2 run to close the first quarter, capped off with a bank three from Kheti Goss, who tied Green for team-high honors with nine points. Goss tied the game at 25 off a Bryce Turner assist, and with two minutes left in the second quarter, the Trojans led for the first time on a Joseph Elliott free throw. They led 28-25 after a basket from Jaden Evans, one of just three seniors on the roster, but Oakland Tech would go back in front on a Desonn Shipp and-1 and take the lead for good on Turner’s three just before halftime.
Harris led all scorers with 24 points, while Arterberry scored all of his 12 in the second half.