By Josh Levine
Eli Wald scored 19 points in the first half to lead University High School to a dominant 88-67 win over Valley Christian of Roseville in the first round of the CIF Division V State Championship Tournament on Tuesday at City College of San Francisco.
Wald had 27 points total to lead all scorers, followed closely by teammate Zio Enriquez who had 26 points.
The Red Devils (26-7) shot 14-of-37 from three-point range, within their uptempo offense.
“Part of being a good shooter, we always say, is even when you miss, [it] looks good [and] feels good,” said University Head Coach Randal Bessolo, “We believe in what we do.”
The Red Devils were coming off of their worst offensive performance of the season, when they were held to a season-low 40 points in a loss to Branson School in the CIF-North Coast Section semifinals.
University bounced back with an attack that took advantage of the opportunities Valley Christian allowed.
“They focused a lot on Noah [Springwater], but as they are taking something away, they are giving us something else,” said Bessolo. “So they took away Noah, and they gave us Eli, they gave us Zio and we took it.”
The Lions (25-6) committed 24 turnovers, most of them a result of the full-court pressure exerted by the Devils early on.
Rob Frank and Ryan Cordell led the Lions with 17 points each, followed by Jason Gish with 14.
Despite having a noticeable size advantage, Jesse Peters and Orest Shaynyuk, the Lions’ front court players, were held to a combined 13 points.
“This is the furthest any of our teams has ever gone in basketball,” said Valley Christian Head Coach Brad Gunter. “I am really proud of this program and all that they have accomplished. Our goal tonight was to come out and play, and they just made shots, plain and simple.”