West High senior guard Kenneth Daye was confident that that he could make the critical play on Saturday night, Dec. 14, in West’s 65-64 win against Tracy High.
In the final minutes of the Tracy/West Winter Holiday Boys Basketball Classic championship game it looked like the team with final possession would get the win. With crosstown rival Tracy High ahead 64-63 and six seconds left on the clock, West coach Derek Sprecksel trusted Daye to make something happen, whether he took the shot or got the ball to the open man.
As it turned out, Daye brought the ball up the court right after Tracy took the lead on two free-throws from Tracy junior guard Druce Asah, drove up a path to the inside, jumped to a stop midway through the key and tossed in the winning basket at the buzzer to give West (7-1) the win over Tracy (6-2)
Daye, who was awarded the tournament most valuable player trophy afterward, said he just trusted his ability to get close and make an accurate shot.
“Coach had confidence in me to take the last shot and it was all God,” he said. “It was a Tracy win or a West win, but I had confidence to hit the last shot.”
The game was an example of how the crosstown rivalry brings a higher level of intensity to the court, especially after Tracy beat West 69-68 in overtime on Dec. 7 for the Stagg Tournament championship.
“That just made us more focused,” West senior forward Alfonso Brown said. “That’s what made us want to play our hardest, especially in the fourth quarter.”
Tracy took an early lead and was ahead 18-8 at the start of the second quarter. It was the biggest lead either team would have for the rest of the game. After a 27-27 halftime tie the teams traded the lead 10 times until Daye hit his game-winning shot.
Daye was the game’s scoring leader with 26 points, with three 3-point shots. Brown scored 14 points, and senior forward Alvin Crenshaw, also an all-tournament selection, scored 12 points.
Tracy players said that even with the loss it was an exciting game that could have gone either way.
“The crowd got us into it,” Tracy senior center Josh Brakkee said. “It was fun to play. Everyone was on their feet the entire game. It was a nail-biter.”
Asah said that he’s confident that the Bulldogs will keep getting better going into the rest of the season.
“We’re going to use this to work harder in practice,” he said.
Asah scored 22 points and Brakkee scored 15 and had 13 rebounds. They both were named to the all-tournament team. Also in the double-digits was senior Devin Foster with 12 points.
Kimball 55, Castlemont 38
The Jaguars (8-2) jumped out to an 17-8 lead early in the third-place game of the Winter Classic on Saturday, scoring four 3-point shots in the, including two from senior guard Ben Juarez and one each from J.D. Schmidt and Brandon Bundy, in the first quarter.
Kimball stayed in control through the rest of the first half, and while Castlemont (1-3) hit its shots in the third quarter it wasn’t enough to close in on the Jaguars’ lead.
Juarez said that his team didn’t have the intensity it brought to the Jaguars game against West on Friday, Dec. 13, a 71-60 loss for Kimball, but prepared for a Castlemont team that still had a chance to bring a trophy back to Oakland.
“Obviously we wanted to be in the championship game, but we had to show up play good against this team,” he said.
Kimball coach Joe Lawrence said he just wanted to see his team bounce back from a tough loss on Friday as they prepare for Valley Oak League play, which begins the second week of January, after crosstown matches with Tracy on Friday, Dec. 20 and West on Jan. 3
“They were a little down from last night game, but they did what they needed to do,” Lawrence said.
“I’m proud of them because we’ve played nine games in 11 days and won eight of them, so I was really happy with the way they came out and played hard tonight.”
Juarez scored 17 points for the Jaguars on Saturday and was named to the all-tournament team after he led his team’s offense, scoring 52 points over three games. Senior guard Jonah Laguana also was named all-tournament after he scored 30 points over three games and was Kimball’s second-leading scorer.
Lathrop 66, Modesto 40
The Lathrop High Spartans won the consolation trophy with their win over Modesto Saturday. Lathrop senior Nicholaus Obazuaye was named to the all-tournament team.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.