By Josh Levine
The Lick-Wilmerding High School boys basketball team found a way to hold off a last-second comeback by visiting Urban School of San Francisco with a 48-42 victory in the first round of the Bay Counties League West playoffs on Tuesday night.
The fourth-seeded Tigers will advance to play top-seeded Stuart Hall in the semifinal round at the City College of San Francisco on Thursday.
Led by senior Eli Gross, who scored a team-high 15 points, the Tigers led by as many as 13 points at one point.
“I told the boys yesterday that this game would come down to five plays,” said Lick-Wilmerding Head Coach Elliot Smith. “I thought our free throw shooting made the difference. I thought they missed a lot of their free throws and we went 6 for 6 down the stretch.”
One of the key factors in the game was not a player, but the scoreboard.
Midway through the first quarter, officials realized that the scoreboard was not working properly. After a ten minute delay while trying to fix it, referees and coaches agreed on a system in which scorekeepers kept the time and kept track of the shot clock without the aid of the scoreboard, yelling when the shot clock was close to expiring.
“I’ve never played a game with no score and no game clock,” said Gross. “I’m the type of guy who likes to know the score and the time on the clock, so I was just constantly on the court yelling at the coaches asking how much time there was. It was an experience. Hopefully I never have to do it again. The biggest deal was the shot clock.”
The loss of a visible shot clock changed each of the teams’ gameplans.
“Usually we like to trap the wings late in the shot clock,” said Urban Head Coach Renard Monroe. “It’s hard to trap the wings when you don’t know how many seconds are left on the shot clock.”
Urban captain Sam Cash was in foul trouble throughout and was held to only six points on 2-of-10 shooting.