Boys Basketball: University dominates from the start against Lick

University senior guard Noah Springwater rises for a shot in the lane against Lick-Wilmerding on Friday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

OAKLAND — Since an uncharacteristic hiccup against Marin Academy to begin the Bay Counties League West season, University High School has rolled through the league as expected, and the most recent victim was rival Lick-Wilmerding.

In their annual game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, University senior guard Noah Springwater hit a three-pointer in the first 10 seconds of play and the Red Devils never looked back.

University junior guard Max Savage (right) tightly guards Lick-Wilmerding junior guard Isiah Boone on Friday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Opening the game on a 23-0 run, University (14-5, 4-1) burst out to a 28-2 lead in the first quarter en route to a dominating 68-26 win on Friday.

“We’ve had some real highs and lows and that was clearly a high,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo. “That was the best quarter we’ve played. Our kids wanted to make a statement and came out ready to play. Winning the league the last two seasons, we often get teams’ best shots. Today Lick probably got ours.”

Springwater led all scorers with 22 points, but 14 came in the crucial first half and the free-flowing University offense fed off 12 Lick turnovers in the quarter, eight coming off University steals.

“It all started on the defensive end,” Springwater said. “Everybody came out fired up and we knew the key was our defense, and we knew that would translate into a good offense.”

Entering the fourth quarter, only Springwater was in double figures in scoring, but 11 separate University players scored points in the game and unsung sophomore guard James Burton had nine points in the final frame to finish with 11 points coming off the bench.

“We have some constants in our seniors Noah, Zio [Enriquez] and Matt [Schneider], but people don’t realize that we have five sophomores and a freshman in our rotation,” Bessolo said. “We really pride ourselves on developing players and think all 14 guys on our roster can play.”

That rotation allowed the Red Devils to extend their lead in each quarter, much to the delight of the University crowd, and the dismay of Lick’s.

The Lick offense was stymied by 24 turnovers, mostly forced by University’s press, but it also struggled shooting, connecting on just under 30 percent of their attempts from the field.

“That’s what happens when you don’t have they same talent that they have,” said Lick-Wilmerding head coach Elliot Smith. “They came out confident, saw we were young and inexperienced, and just jumped on us. They weren’t going to give in, they were going to keep their best guys in the whole game and press the whole game. They wanted to beat us by 100.”

The Red Devils dominated throughout, but may have also caught the Tigers in a bit of a rut. Lick (8-10, 0-3) has lost its last five games (including its first three in BCL West play), after starting the season 8-5, and the margin in those losses has averaged nearly 18 points per game. In the first meeting between the two teams this season in early December, University won 77-62.

“This squad is young and is learning, but sometimes you have to learn the hard way,” Smith said. “Our pride was hurt today, but we’ll play them again at home [on Feb. 9]. We were just on the wrong end of it today.”

Scoring Leaders

University
Noah Springwater – 22
James Burton – 11
Zio Enriquez – 9
Matt Schneider – 8
Will Carroll – 5

Lick-Wilmerding
Danny Baldocchi – 6
Benjamin Faustine -5
Benjamin Schneider – 5
Tomas Fuentes-Afflick – 4
Three players tied with 2 points

Be Sociable, Share!

21 Comments

  1. yaboi says:

    that was no BS hiccup. MA dominated that entire game.

  2. Anonymous says:

    the loss to MA was not a hiccup

  3. jesus says:

    The only “hiccup” in the university vs. MA game was when MA had a brain “hiccup” and forgot how to break the university press for 2 minutes after dissecting it with surgical precision for the previous 27-28 minutes, allowing University to believe they had a shot at a comeback. This effort of course was aided by an absurd continuation foul call, that ignored the rules of basketball and all logic, on a 3-point attempt by the aforementioned springwater. So maybe hiccup isn’t the best way to describe that game, maybe “out coached” “getting dominated” or maybe “a hard fought loss to the other top BCL west contenders, rival Marin Academy.” that last one sure seems like a more objective, journalistic, facts based piece of writing than the your choice mr. balan

  4. Observer says:

    Looks like you touched a nerve Jeremy. I think all the defensive comments from MA fans might mean they have a little inferiority complex. Just sayin

  5. insulation says:

    i never heard of Marin Academy before. Are they like a boarding school or something

  6. insulation says:

    its weird how they are commenting about coverage that does not relate to them

  7. 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 portray the Lick’s loss in a positive light. An IJ article on a Branson-MA event would do the same.

  8. former BCL player says:

    The only thing thats pathetic “ca high school sports fan” (besides some creepy old dude putting his two cents into an online debate about high school basketball at 1am) is a man who uses his own, clearly biased, objective rankings to support his own point. that sir is pathetic. as for the character of the kids, you clearly don’t know anything if you think that uni brings in high character athletes and you believe MA has the “cocky” ones. clearly you never played these schools cause you got that one pretty twisted. never did i play a dirtier, more arrogant team than when i played uni. I mean, look at coach smith’s comments, that should tell you all you need to know about the “character” of uni from coach to players.

    And by athletic program are you only referring to basketball, because im pretty sure that MA is a top dog in the state for any division in soccer every year without fail (when i played them, they sported multiple team USA u-18 players, something uni could only dream of). Unlike the Uni basketball program that dropped significantly after their state ‘ship run 10 years ago, MA soccer is always top dog. So top athletic program, hmmm, i donno about all that? Not to mention that we are talking about D5, which is like debating who has the best D-league program in the NBA, pretty pointless.

    Clearly the response from MA supporters is based on the fact they feel disrespected by the author implying that UHS is so powerful and by far the best team that had they not had a “hiccup” and played the way they should, they woulda “rolled” over MA like the rest of the BCL. That assumption clearly ignores the likely possibility that MA is better or equal to uni THIS YEAR. Just because its SF preps and not marin county preps doesn’t mean that the author should ignore all journalistic rules and present a biased account of a game im sure he never saw. Just like “jesus” said, there were other ways to present that game & write that sentence, but the author chose his words poorly, in my opinion.

    I think if i went to MA and read that, id be pretty ticked off. I think if it was the reverse you uni supporters would be sayin just what the MA ones are. But you know whats great about competition, they play again, this week in fact. They’ll probably play again for the championship too. So this debate will be settled by the players, on the court, not some pathetic old dude with his objective rankings on a message board of a silly article that served little purpose.

  9. insulation says:

    I dont know why people take journalism so seriously. Anybody can have any opinion even if it is hilariously biased. Your nobility does not have to be proven. Just play the game because it is fun.

  10. former BCL player says:

    obviously i meant subjective, not objective in my first sentence above. thinking faster than i can type makes it hard to write what i mean sometimes…

  11. California high school sports fan says:

    haha I actually go to Lick, so why are you reading a blog about our basketball games when you already graduated from a different BCL school? That’s more out of place than MA kids doing it. And you posted an essay! You probably go to MA don’t you

  12. woah says:

    The guy who says the devils dont have character because they poured it on is stupid. Who isn’t gonna go hard all game in front of your entire school playing on a pro court in a RIVALRY game?

  13. go devils says:

    deeeevvvvvillllllsssssss

  14. former BCL player says:

    to woah, people with class. its not the NBA, its not NCCA D-1 its the BCL west division 5 high school basketball. Have some class, theres not need to embarrass 16, 17 & 18 year old kids. get a clue man, have some perspective, its the lowest level of ball the state has dude, you aint hot shhh no matter how much you think you are

  15. Tree monster says:

    HICCUP HICCUP HICCUP HICCUP HICCUP
    Boom, 27 points.

  16. @ California High School Sports Fan says:

    If you were educated on the actual topic, you would know Lick is in fact in D-4. Not D-5.

  17. jdazzle says:

    the oracle game was bad. It was really sad, 23-0 run to start the game was not good, but at least we got to stay and watch Monta go beast mode on the Kings

  18. California High School Sports Fan says:

    Just saw the newer comments… Good point, my mistake. I was half thinking of my freshmen year when we had Marcus and made it to D5 norcal finals and half just listing quickly without awareness that I hadn’t specified. But to justify my point I was talking about the scope of the last several years and we switched like two years ago… so we moreorless still associate with the D5 schools in terms of rivalries and comparisions especially when looking at the scope of past years. Just like Branson and CSU are still comparable to the BCL even though they moved out, because they are similar sizes and compete for similar student bodies

  19. @former BCL Player says:

    What school did you attend anyway? I know people love to hate on Uni (trust me my friends do all the time) but I had an older sibling that went to there so am a little more sympathetic. I don’t play soccer anymore but I have followed high school soccer since 8th grade and you definitely got the facts exaggerated. MA is no doubt “top dog” in the league now. They killed UHS this year and just about everyone else and won NCS and whatever. But just a couple years ago, Uni and them were neck and neck. They played each other in back-to-back BCL and NCS championships (07-08 I believe). I was at the game actually my Freshmen year (I’m a senior now) when Uni beat MA a man down in the BCL finals. The years before that (though I wasn’t really following yet) Univeristy won NCS back-to-back and I’d guess BCL too. And since I’ve been in high school they sent a kid to Stanford and Oregon (along with several other less impressive colleges, but definitely legit players for BCL nonetheless) and I don’t think MA has sent anyone to schools in major D1 conferences lately but I could be wrong. MA is dominant now, but they always seemed pretty equal to me.

  20. California high school sports fan says:

    And lastly, before I leave… I was basing those rankings off of (some subjection obviously) but also facts like total sectional/state titles, % of conference titles (UHS has something like well-over 50% of BCL titles around the board each year), CIF (D5) school of the year awards–pretty rare to get but UHS has gotten some probably just because of their cross-country team or something but still legit nonetheless– etc… I may have been wrong about putting us ahead of you guys (I’m not too keen on MA and obviously biased) but if you look at those numbers you would see I was likely correct about the first two and probably 3 and 4 too. Plus not sure you would know this but MA is so much more legit at soccer because their coach has club teams most the players come from so its almost like an all-year round team. MAs next best sport has probably always been their volleyball (they usually kill), but apparently Uni, Branson, and CSU have always been good in the past too. I just think MA is the one school that tends to think they are better than they are whereas University has a little more bragging rights. The fact that MA is so “topdog” at soccer but somehow lost to UHS in the BCL finals down a man is more what I was talking about in terms of underachieving and not winning “important” games that they should based on tallent alone. or that they used to kill our soccer team but have back-and-forth games with Uni (who we could keep up with) . As does the fact that they talk about being so good at basketball but I can’t remember when they last won a BCL title (and can only think of one year they even made the finals even though they have finished top of the league and have the tallent to win it). Whereas we were able to make a norcal final with basically just Marcus, UHS pretty much did the same thing and Branson almost won a State Championship after losing all their talent last year (those are examples of overachieving and winning big games down the stretch despite expectations not to). That’s what I meant by that… the fact that UHS basketball program dropped for several years does not neccessarily mean they had the talent to win a State championship each year but failed to even win a BCL title, its mean they graduated their best players and needed a better coach (which they clearly got).

  21. fact checker says:

    UHS has 5 all-time NCS titles to MAs 7 (Branson’s 4?) granted MA has won 4 in the last 5 years. Meaning prior to 5 years ago, UHS was in the lead. Up until the last two seasons when MA completely ran the table, UHS and MA were neck and neck. UHS won back-to-back NCS titles the years before MA started winning and literally stole a BCL title away from MA one year during the dominant MA era beating them after a missed PK following the sending off of the UHS goal keeper. UHS and MA have been the consistently the top 2 teams in BCL year in year out until just recently when MA pulled away from the pack entirely. Since UHS bagged Coach Rusty Taylor– and the few year transition period in which they still had Rusty’s players– UHS soccer has gotten worse each year. It has been pretty much all siblings and students that would have attended UHS regardless of soccer whereas MA has continued to pull in several club players from their coach’s Marin FC teams each year. MA had a goal keeper recently on the National team but they played him in the field where he was though quite good, not nearly National-team caliber. and maybe one other National pool player years ago. But in terms of talent in the past, MA’s edge is very slight (if any) up until just about this year. Last two years (not including this one), UHS had the league MVP. In each of the last 5 years, UHS has had the more impressive top player(s) in terms of college recruitment: ’06 Ivy league, ’07 D3 Middlebury (all-american/national champion), ’08 Oregon State, ’09 Stanford, ’10 Yale, ’11 N/A… vs… ’06 no d1, ’07 D3 Bowdoin (conference FOY), ’08 LMU, ’09 LMU, ’10 no D1, ’11 LMU

Leave a Comment

Comments that advocate violence, racism, or libel, as well as comments featuring profanity will not be permitted. Repeat offenders will have their commenting privileges suspended. All comments must abide by our Commenting Code of Conduct.