By Jeremy Balan
University High School had its second consecutive dominating performance in the CIF-North Coast Section playoffs, with a 78-47 win over Valley Christian of Dublin in the quarterfinal round at Kezar Pavilion on Saturday night.
The Red Devils actually had an off-shooting night, but capitalized on 17 offensive rebounds and 25 Valley Christian turnovers in a game that was never in question.
“We like to play fast and so far people have allowed us to,” said Randy Bessolo. “We want to be able to win even when we don’t shoot well.”
Senior forward Eli Wald led the Red Devils on the offensive end with a game-high 19 points.
Wald struggled shooting in the first half, but scored most of his points in the half following up University misses, with five offensive rebounds.
Wald came out shooting in the second half, and caught fire with 10 points, before being removed for all of the fourth quarter with the rest of the University starters.
“I came out in the second half relaxed and was much more confident,” Wald said.
The 10th-seeded Vikings had trouble dealing with the University full-court, pressing defense and never got into an offensive flow.
“[Their press] speeds the game up,” said Valley Christian Head Coach and former NFL defensive back Rod Woodson. “It got our guys out of sync in the first half. They did everything they wanted to with the press.”
Valley Christian was led by junior point guard Zach Stillwell, who had a team high 15 points. Senior guard James Williams added 12 points.
University advances to meet third-seeded Branson School in the semifinals on Wednesday and will face a contrast in style.
“Branson likes to play slow,” Bessolo said. “We try to win by scoring more than 70 and they try to win by holding teams under 40. It will be a battle of wills.”
Wald is looking to avenge a 55-49 loss to Branson last season.
“We lost to them in my junior year, so my goal since then is to beat Branson,” Wald said. “We’re gunning for them.”