By Jeremy Balan
In the four years that June Jordan School for Equity has fielded a boys basketball team, it has been the doormat of the Academic Athletic Association.
The Jaguars have won just one of their 62 AAA games in those four years and have never won more than two games in a season.
However, there have been signs of hope this season for Jordan, which equaled it’s highest win output in school history with victories in their first two games against Impact and Envision academies.
But Jordan will have to wait a little longer for its school-record third win though, as visiting Sequoia High School withstood a late Jaguars rally to win 40-37 in non-league action on Tuesday.
Sequoia (1-0) went on a 6-0 run to open the second half, giving the Cherokee a 31-14 lead early in the third quarter, but Jordan (2-1) would make a frantic rally late, cutting the lead to 40-37 after a 3-pointer from senior forward Justin Santos with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Jordan then fouled Sequoia point guard Matt Elliot with three seconds left, and Elliot missed the first of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity to give the Jaguars life. The missed free throw caromed to senior point guard David Coomber, but he could not get a shot off from mid-court before the buzzer sounded.
“They’re playing really well and working hard, but we have some guys who’ve never played basketball before,” said Jordan head coach Tom Skjervheim. “We’re still trying to get a feel for what it means to be on a varsity basketball team, playing against teams that have been playing their whole lives.”
At many times during the game, Jordan looked like the better team, but the game may have been decided behind the 3-point arc and at the free-throw line.
Santos’ shot with three seconds remaining was the only made 3-pointer from Jordan on 15 attempts. The Jaguars also struggled from the free-throw line, connecting on just 7-of-19 attempts.
“A couple of guys had cold nights,” Skjervheim said. “We just need to get used to taking shots when guys are on you and being more patient. And free throws … that’s all we’re going to do next practice.”
The Jaguars were led by a game-high 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocks from imposing senior center Darius Webb, but the offense never seemed to get into sync, due to Sequoia’s high-pressure, full-court defense.
The Cherokee were missing three starters and head coach Fine Lauese on Tuesday, all of which are involved with the Sequoia football team that is preparing for the CIF-Central Coast Section Division II championship.
Sequoia dressed four freshmen and only two seniors in the win and were led by a team-high 10 points from senior Fanor Padilla, but assistant coach Bobby Hayes was happy to leave with a victory.
“Good teams win ugly and we’ll take any win, especially on the road,” Hayes said. “[Getting the freshmen experience] is priceless right now. With the football players still playing, to get the young guys playing time speaks volumes, but that takes away nothing from what these guys did.”
Fanor Padilla – 10
Matt Elliot – 8
Ivan Ayarza – 6
Matthew Dierolf – 6
Jovanny Avila – 4
Darius Webb – 11
Alex Banks – 10
David Coomber – 9
Justin Santos – 5
Devon Spikes – 2