Boys Basketball: University comes up short against Oakland

University senior guard Noah Springwater (left) drives up court against an Oakland's Jalen Headspeth on Thursday at University High School. (Photo by Eric Soracco)

By Bonta Hill

After coming off an impressive run at the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic last week, University High School was looking to cap their non-league slate with a statement victory over a loaded Oakland High School team.

The Red Devils’ hopes for an upset were squashed, however, as they had their worst shooting night of the season, dropping a 65-54 contest to the visiting Wildcats in front a standing-room-only crowd Thursday.

University senior guard Zio Enriquez drives toward the basket against an Oakland defender on Thursday at University High School. (Photo by Eric Soracco)

Despite a slow start, Oregon-bound guard Jabari Brown had a game-high 25 points for the Wildcats (8-5), and teammate Dominque Taplin contributed 14, as Oakland won its fourth straight heading into Oakland Athletic League play.

“We started to play better defense and get stops, and that opened up our fast-break offense,” Brown said. “We got stops and our offense came around.”

University senior standout guard Noah Springwater was tied with Zio Enriquez with a team-high 12 points, but had a night he’d like to forget. Springwater shot 4-of-17 from the floor and University (10-3) shot 30 percent from the field.

“We had our worst shooting night of the season, but we had a lot of good looks,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo. “They made everything difficult with their speed, strength and athleticism, and when we had the open looks, we were rushing [our shots].”

After a slow first quarter for both clubs, the tempo picked up as both teams traded baskets. A put-back dunk from Brown seemed to spark Oakland, and his 3-pointer with nine seconds left in the first half would send the Wildcats into the break only down 30-28.

Oakland would then go on a 16-4 run to open the second half to open up a 44-34 lead, and went into the final quarter up 50-38. University, known for its three-point shooting, would go 0-for-6 in the quarter, much to the credit of the Wildcats’ man-to-man defense.

“I just told our team that [University] punched us in the mouth first, and that we have to respond,” said Oakland head coach Orlando Watkins. “Defensively our intensity picked up, our focus picked up, we started rebounding and that changed the whole tempo of the game.”

University would make one last surge in the final frame, cutting Oakland’s lead to 60-53 with 2:12 remaining, but in the end, the Red Devils couldn’t get the big shot to drop.

“We tell guys that we don’t worry about missing good shots, and tonight we had a lot of good shots, and they didn’t fall,” Bessolo said. “Frankly, we won’t worry about missing them. We’ll hit them next game.”

Although this loss stung the Red Devils, and would have made their already impressive resume that much better, University’s goals are still intact as they head into Bay Counties League West play.

“Our goals are to win our league, be the best team in the City and win a state championship,” Bessolo said. “In spite of this loss, we feel good where we are, but we’re also reminding ourselves, satisfaction is the enemy of success, so, we’re not satisfied.”

Scoring Leaders

Oakland
Jabari Brown – 25
Dominque Taplin – 15
T.J. Taylor – 14
Andrew Nash – 6
Jalen Headspeth – 5

University
Zio Enriquez – 12
Noah Springwater – 12
James Burton – 8
Harold Getz – 8
David Medoff – 8

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One Comment

  1. California high school sports fan says:

    It’s comments like the ones above that make the difference between the athletic programs of University and Marin Academy. It’s not the talent or coaching (both are relatively comparable), it’s the character of the kids. While there are some exceptions here and there, that explains why you will generally see a UHS team overachieve for the talent base it has and a cocky MA team choke when its all on the line. It’s why UHS is the top all-time D5 athletic program in the bay area and MA is not even top 5. UHS 1, Branson 2, Headroyce 3, Crystal Springs 4, Lick-Wilmerding 5… MA 6 maybe? Those comments are pathetic. Of course a website called San Fran Preps is going to talk up the SF schools. That explains why it still manages to make the

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