HAYWARD, CA – The 2019-2020 high school year has begun in the classroom, but the basketball season is a ways off from kicking into action.
No matter, because if you were at Chabot College in Hayward on Sunday afternoon like around 500 other boys basketball fans you saw the best Northern California has to offer as the class of 2020 held off a no quit class of 2021 in a 106-100 victory in the 10th Annual NorCal Clash.
No one came close to the 42-point performance of current Georgetown guard James Akinjo two years ago when he led the juniors to a 124-103 victory over the seniors, but it was another Salesian-Richmond guard that shined brightest
Shane Bell, a 6-4 guard that plays long and sleek showed he’s a hard worker on both ends of the court and was named MVP by the panel of assembled sports writers and boys basketball analysts after finishing with a game-high 20 points with three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“Yes, I definitely pride myself in being a hard worker,” Bell said. “That’s emphasized at Salesian. You play hard you stay in the game.”
Bell didn’t start, but after the seniors led 26-22 after the first of four 10-minute quarters and 49-45 at the half, Bell scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half when the seniors took control of the game.
The juniors bolted out to a 7-0 lead but by the end of the first quarter the seniors had taken a lead they never relinquished, although they got the lead to 90-79 on a flying dunk by Bell, they couldn’t shake off the juniors, particularly Austin Patterson and Mike Mitchell, Jr.
After making an early three-pointer, Patterson, a 6-3 guard from Sonora, went cold but he made two three-pointers down the stretch to keep the juniors close. Patterson finished with a team-high 17 points.
The only college-committed player in the game, Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 6-2 guard and Pepperdine-commit Mitchell, had 16 points and was 4-of-6 on three pointers, including a deep three-ball late in the game.
Bell wasn’t a unanimous selection for MVP as 6-6 wing Teiano Hardee of Vanden-Fairfield got strong consideration after finishing with a double-double 17 points and 11 rebounds with three blocks and two steals. He did the dirty work inside and looked good.
Three other players were in double-figure scoring. Bishop O’Dowd 6-5 forward Monty Bowser had 13 points, James Logan-Union City guard Brah’jon Thompson added 11 points, and Dublin guard Anthony Roy had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. Tejon Sawyer, a big and strong 6-8 banger, took two offensive fouls, made all seven of his free throws, and had nine points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
The juniors got solid efforts from several players with three others besides Patterson and Mitchell in double-figure scoring. Marsalis Roberson, a 6-4 guard from Bishop O’Dowd had 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals, 6-6 wing Nigel Burris of Archbishop Mitty also had 15 points, and Sheldon-Sacramento guard Yaru Harvey added 10 points.
Despite the season being over two months from starting, Bell was ready to get busy and eliminate the bad taste of being nationally-ranked only to end the season 31-1 after being eliminated 56-55 by Modesto Christian in the second round of the CIF Northern Regional Open Division playoffs.
“Since I’ve been here we win a lot of games but at the end we’ve lost,” Bell remarked. “I just want to win and go all the way. “I’m ready for the season and we’ll be ready.”