Boys Basketball: Mission overcomes sloppy play to best St. Mary’s in Crusader Classic

St. Mary's guard Seth Mosley (left) strips the ball away from Mission junior guard Antoine Porter in the first round of the Crusader Classic on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

It wasn’t pretty, but Mission High School overcame a Turkey Day hangover to win its first game of the season 72-67 against St. Mary’s of Berkeley in the first round of the Crusader Classic on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School.

The Bears played sloppily and committed 24 turnovers, but scored 28 points off 31 St. Mary’s turnovers.

Mission senior forward Shaquille Fisher rises for a shot in the key against St. Mary's in the first round of the Crusader Classic on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

With seven players of Mission’s 13-man roster participating in the AAA football championship on Thursday, head coach Arnold Zelaya expected a shaky start.

“Honestly, there was a lot of football rust,” Zelaya said. “We’ve been practicing with six guys. The second half was much better and they settled down.”

After foul trouble and poor shooting in the second quarter, Mission surrendered a large early lead and trailed 30-27 at the half.

The Bears retook the lead midway through the third quarter and extended it to 54-39 heading into the fourth quarter after junior guard Kevin Murray hit three 3-pointers in a the final two minutes of the third.

Murray finished with 17 points and was one of the few Mission players that didn’t have a bad shooting night.

“Murray has been working really, really hard and that was big there,” Zelaya said. “He’s come a long way from being a little baby sophomore.”

The Bears shot just 35 percent from the floor, but took 82 shots, 30 more than St. Mary’s.

Much of the reason for the disparity in shot attempts was a dominant performance by Mission on the offensive glass. The Bears collected 26 offensive rebounds, led by eight from junior guard Antoine Porter and seven from senior forward Miles Prescott.

“What you saw today was a very inexperienced, young team,” said St. Mary’s head coach Manny Nodar. “You’re not going to win a game against that team turning the ball over 31 times and allowing 26 offensive rebounds.”

Prescott led the Bears with 13 rebounds, while Porter and senior forward Shaquille Fisher totaled 10.

“That’s Miles’ job,” Zelaya said. “He’s a shorter, less round version of [Charles] Barkley. He does all the dirty work for us.”

Fisher led the Bears with 18 points and Porter added 14, but both struggled shooting from the floor.

Still, Porter controlled the pace of the game, handled most of the ball-handling duties and had three steals.

Mission junior guard Kevin Murray rises up for a layup against St. Mary's in the first round of the Crusader Classic on Wednesday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“He just goes, and he’s the one kid who didn’t come off the floor,” Zelaya said. “The kid just scored the winning touchdown on Turkey Day. He’s a special kid, he’s my leader and he works his butt off.”

The Bears’ pressure defense may have caused frequent turnovers, but it didn’t have an answer for St. Mary’s junior guard Jeremy Dennis in the second half. Dennis scored a game-high 35 points and led a late St. Mary’s charge in the fourth quarter.

“He should have had 50 [points] if he came out and played hard the whole time,” Nodar said. “Again, he’s a guy in a situation where he’s gotta grow into it.”

Mission advances to the winner’s bracket to take on Burlingame Friday and Zelaya welcomes the solid competition early in the season.

“I will to learn more about this team if we’re down 20 or if we’re in a close game, than if we’re blowing [a team] out,” Zelaya said. “I want to know what I have right away against good competition.”

Scoring Leaders

Shaquille Fisher — 18
Kevin Murray — 17
Antoine Porter — 14
Gione Edwards — 11
Miles Prescott — 8

St. Mary’s
Jeremy Dennis — 35
Jerrod Nodar — 10
Aren Ulmer — 8
Mike Pickney — 7
Kenny Greenwood — 3

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  1. GCJ 01 says:

    Good job Mission! Keep up the good work!

    Hey JB, you could’ve put a better title than “Mission overcomes sloppy play…” It wasn’t sloppy, it just wasn’t as clean as it should’ve been! LOL

    • jbalan says:

      It was very sloppy.

      • GCJ 01 says:

        Like I said, it wasn’t sloppy, it just wasn’t as clean as it should’ve been. Although the good thing is they were able to pull it off. Normally, sloppy play leads to a loss.

        • jbalan says:

          It wasn’t only me that shared that opinion. It was the first thing Zelaya brought up when I talked to him after the game and he used the word “sloppy” too.

          Were you there? Why didn’t you introduce yourself!?

          • GCJ 01 says:

            I know that it wasn’t you that shared the opinion JB, I was just saying you could’ve changed the title of the article lol (basically I meant it as a joke). No, I wasn’t there, I meant to put “It probably wasn’t sloppy, it just wasn’t as clean as it should’ve been” in my first comment, but left out the word “probably.” My mistake. If I was there, I would’ve introduced myself. I’m not rude JB!

  2. Fan says:

    Is Mission going to be truth this year? Consistent or non-consistent with winning more games this year??

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great job Mission you showing your worth the ranking of 17 in Northern Cali now lets climb the ladder. I can see yall being top 10 if ya want it, just a bunch of kids from the hood chasing a dream i love it. Stay focus!

  4. Paul B. says:

    Also, three players from St. Mary’s (Berkeley) (David Andoh, Glenn Baral, & Isiah Taylor) transferred to other schools.

  5. Hoops fan says:

    @Paul B. is that an excuse or are you “just saying?”

  6. Brian says:

    St. Mary’s is not good. Salesian runs that league and blows them out all the time.

    • ARHS Stats says:

      Saint Mary’s was winning the league before Salesian became the league Champions the last couple of years.

      Saint Mary’s with all the players either graduating or transferring, still has a good team.

      Saint Mary’s has 3 or 4 player’s all about 6′ 5″ tall, the panthers have 3 freshman on Varsity and another 3 freshman on the Junior Varsity team this season.

      So Saint Mary’s will have a lot of players returning after this season is over. SM is a very young team right now, only 4 seniors on the team, with 4 sophomores and 3 freshman. One of the seniors is not playing right now, he just came out from football.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I watched Marshall against a very athletic, physical Fremont of Oakland team Saturday, a OAL team that I felt should have detroy Marshall. Marshall only had 7 players and four of them were guards. But what I discovered about Marshall as the game progressed; Marshall was physical, athletic, and very good in their half court offense plus, they were tought on defense. It was well played game in which Marshall would come from a 12 point decifit in the third quarter to win the game 70/62.

    I was told by one of the parents, the lost to University Red Devil, Marshall had 5 players, and University was very lucky to get that win 67/64. Marshall played that game with all guards.

    Marshall is under the radar because there’s no Theo Hill, Let me say this right now, Marshall is still one of the top teams in the AAA.

    So far this season, beside Lincoln and Mission, have any other AAA beat a OAL school- I guess that not a fair question, because 85% of AAA teams will not play a OAL team.

    • AAA says:

      Washington is playing Fremont of Oakland tomorrow and Washington beat Skyline earlier in the pre-season. After tomorrow, they will have already played two OAL schools. But you are right AAA and OAL teams don’t play each other often I would like to know why as well.

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