By Jeremy Balan
OAKLAND — In the first half of Lick-Wilmerding’s non-league game against Bay School in the Bay Area Conference Challenge on Saturday at Head-Royce School, the Tigers were ice-cold, except for one player.
While the rest of the Tigers shot 1-for-14 from the floor in the half, senior guard Kishan Jay buoyed the offense with 12 of the team’s 14 points in the half, to keep Lick close enough to rally back from a 19-14 halftime deficit in a 47-41 win.
“I’ve been struggling the past couple of games to get the shots in, but today, in that situation, we needed the shots to fall,” Jay said.
Much of the early Lick (11-10) struggles were due to a stingy Bay (15-6) zone defense, anchored by 6-foot-9 senior center Aubrey Russell, who had four blocks, to go along with 13 rebounds and eight points.
Jay finished with a game-high 20 points, but it was an influx in production from the rest of the Tigers that pushed them ahead in the fourth quarter, after they trailed 32-28 heading into the final frame.
After subpar performances in the first half, junior guard Isaiah Boone had 10 points in the second and senior forward Benjamin Faustine had nine, including seven in the crucial fourth quarter.
“It was important for us to represent our league and to prove we’re a strong league,” said Lick coach Elliot Smith. “Kishan kept us in the game, but we had to go after them. In the end, it was seniors hitting huge shots.”
Bay was led by a team-high 12 points from senior guard Zev Newman and the Breakers led after every quarter but the fourth, but it was an extended scoring drought in the final frame that allowed the Tigers to take over the lead.
“Down the stretch, they were strong and held it together and that was the difference,” said Bay coach Pete Overfelt. “They played great on defense and stopped our offense from functioning for a while there.”
The Breakers will look to bring extra confidence into the rest of Bay Counties League Central play after a solid performance against Lick, and it will look to extend its 7-0 league record.
“We’re not worried about just hanging with teams anymore,” Overfelt said. “We’re ready to start winning these games. We had a few breakdowns there at the end, but the kids hung in there and we definitely have that winning spirit.”
Lick, after its worst week of the season, responded with three wins this week to pull its record back above .500.
“It was nice to see after two tough losses last week,” Jay said. “We’re back above .500 now, but we’re also changing our style a little bit. We’re a lot more focused on defense and if we can hold teams to 40 [points], we’ll be all right.”
Kishan Jay – 20
Isaiah Boone – 12
Benjamin Faustine – 9
Granger Tripp – 3
Tomas Fuentes-Afflick – 2
Zev Newman – 12
Henry Gale – 8
Aubrey Russell – 8
Lucas Knorr – 6
Connor Mattoon – 6