Boys Basketball: Lick-Wilmerding hits the boards in rivalry win over University

The Lick-Wilmerding boys basketball team celebrates after its win over University on Friday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

OAKLAND – Both teams couldn’t buy a jumper in the annual rivalry game between Lick-Wilmerding High School and University at Oracle Arena on Friday afternoon.

So the Tigers went to the boards.

Lick dominated the rebounding game to seal a 49-40 Bay Counties League West win, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Red Devils and avenging a 42-point loss at Oracle last season.

Lick-Wilmerding junior forward Benjamin Schneider (right) bodies University forward Harold Getz on Friday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. (Photo by Doug Ko)

“What a difference a year makes,” said Lick head coach Eliot Smith. “In a game like that, you need to attack and we had good support on rebounds.”

Lick’s frontcourt combination of juniors Benjamin Schneider, Andrew Rauch and Matthew Bergland, all standing at 6-foot-4 or taller, combined to score 26 points and the Tigers (13-8, 4-2) scored 24 points in the paint.

“The boards were so important and that was part of our game plan,” Schneider said. “We knew we had to beat them down low, because we knew they were going to try to kill us with 3-point shots, and that’s what we did. We executed on the boards better than we ever had.”

The Lick forwards also played solid defense in the paint and combined with a cold shooting day for University, held the Red Devils to their lowest point total against a league opponent since the 2005-2006 season.

“I always say the most aggressive team wins,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo. “I don’t know if it was because we’ve beaten them nine straight times, the crowd or whatever it was, they were by far the more aggressive team and that manifested itself on the boards, they got to balls on the ground and physically defended their rim.”

University (13-9, 4-2) led for most of the first half, but Lick went on a late run to bring the score to a 25-25 tie at the break. The Tigers took control in the second half, though, and after taking a 39-34 lead into the fourth quarter, the Red Devils missed their first 12 shots from the floor in the final frame and didn’t score until the final 30 seconds of the quarter.

“When you play a great team like University and you feel like the game is yours, where their shots are going in and out, you just have to take advantage,” Smith said. “This is a great win for our high school students. It’s nice to get that memory in front of your entire school.”

The Lick win puts the Tigers into a three-way for first place with University and the winner of the Urban-Marin Academy game later today.

With five teams in the six-team league clustered near the top of the standings, Smith and Schneider stressed the importance of the final four games, because one of five contenders will miss the BCL West playoffs.

“We’re ecstatic right now, but we’re looking forward,” Schneider said. “We know we have a long road and we want to see them in the championship and beat them by 10 more.”

The two teams are heading in different directions, however, with Lick winning four straight league games and University dropping it’s last two after starting 4-0.

“The only positive from this game would be that this is an opportunity for a wakeup call,” Bessolo said. “Lick lost their first two and responded well and so did [Marin Academy]. It’s up to our guys to decide what team they want to be.”

Scoring Summary

Matthew Bergland – 10
Benjamin Schneider – 10
Isaiah Boone – 8
Phillip Stone Jr. – 8
Andrew Rauch – 6

Chris Mah – 10
Jack Gale – 8
Harold Getz – 7
Erik Anderson – 6
David Medoff – 6

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  1. Anonymous says:

    lets go lick! thanks for covering the game jeremy. lick frontcourt holdin it down

  2. GCJ 01 says:

    Great job Lick. I wonder why the game is played at Oracle and not Kezar or USF.

  3. anon says:

    Because we are lucky to have access to Oracle and it’s a great experience for them to play on an NBA court.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sure oracle is in Oakland but the thrill of playing on a professional court with your name and number on the scoreboard is a wonderful experience that anyone would be lucky to have.

    • JJ says:

      Maybe when the Warriors move to San Francisco in a few years, a new basketball stadium will provide another place for exciting basketball games such as the annual game with Lick and University and even the Bruce Mahoney basketball game. The Bruce game is always sold out, so why not have the game at a bigger place so that both schools can make more money, like what happened in the CCS championship football game? Alot of people were complaining about the CCS game in Terra Nova because the game would’ve been sold out, so how come no one complains when the Bruce Mahoney game is sold out? If they had the Bruce-Mahoney game in Oracle, for instance, I bet 10K would show up, more than the 5K that show up at USF.

  5. City Lights says:

    I guess it would be “cool” to play on a court in a giant cavernous empty pro arena outside of the city. That’s what it’s all about. To be able to say “I played on an NBA court.”

    • Anonymous says:

      it literally brings out the entire school to watch whereas typically not even 30 people show up to bcl west games. it’s a really fun and unifying thing for the schools. one of the highlights of the year for the students. no way its not good

    • Anonymous says:

      When the bruce game is played at USF, the students dont even get courtside seats, if youve never been to Roaracle then its hard to imagine, but the atmosphere is electric

      • Anonymous says:

        Having been to both games (Bruce Mahoney and Lick-Uni at oracle) the Bruce Mahoney is hands down crazy. The atmosphere at Oracle is electric but the Bruce Mahoney is one of the top high school atmospheres in the country and best in Norcal.
        I believe all City Lights was saying is that a san francisco rivalry played in the city in a smaller arena so it sells out would make for a better all around experience.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Posted some video snippets on the Lick website btw

  7. Anonymous says:

    City lights may just be upset his team doesn’t get to play at oracle arena. Who wouldn’t want to play on a nba court ask any high school basketball player and I guarantee you they would say playing at oracle arena in front their entire school would be a highlight of their high school career

    • City Lights says:

      Yeah that’s it. I’m jealous of a B league game in a 95% empty cavern of an arena.

      If two chihuahuas bark loud at enough at each other in a forest and no one else is around to hear it other than a rabid pack of other chihuahuas dressed in face-paint similar to Braveheart, do they make a sound?

      If you need an “NBA arena” try ARCO with something on the line other than another Lippi beatdown from St. Joe’s.

      • GCJ 01 says:

        Wow, that was brutal!

      • boom roasted says:

        well city lights i am assuming that you didnt go to the oracle game but still heard about it so i guess those “two chihuahuas” made enough noise for you to notice and comment on this article multiple times. and b-league game? since the 2007-2008 uni and lick have combined to make 3 norcal championships

  8. Anonymous says:

    i think randy bessolo is hilarious. “maybe its because we’ve beaten them 9 straight times…or maybe because of the crowd…” yeah bud its because your team got outplayed on that night. i like how he was so vulnerable he felt the need to spew how many straight times he’s beaten lick, though i am glad he identified how much better the lick crowd was than his own. i like the fact that bessolo coaches there because when lick wins, it makes it so much sweeter

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great game by the team captains, pointguard PJ Stone, who played with a back injury; Isaiah Boone, who played with stomach flu; and senior Anthony Shaw, who grabbed multiple boards.

  10. Anonymous says:

    the bigger question is how can they play a game at noon on a Friday? don’t these kids have class to attend?

  11. Anonymous says:

    haha they’re two of san francisco’s most high achieving schools…the administrations take the second half of the day off for the game.

  12. JJ2 says:

    SI’s graduation figures are much higher than those of University and Lick put together. It’s a joke that these kids get to take a day off from school to watch an average to bad basketball game. Not even close to the Bruce! Eliot Smith and Uncle Randy Besolo are sending these kids the wrong message: Sports>School. Absolutely ridiculous. I would be embarrassed if my child attended either of these “schools.” Oracle Arena is a horrible arena too. War Memorial is a much better venue for all HS Athletic events. Horrendous mar on our city

    • jbalan says:

      This may be the most misguided comment in the site’s history.

      • WCAL Alum says:

        I can only imagine Jbalan had his head in his hand while HAVING legally bound to post this comment by JJ2.

        To Lick Wilmerding/University posters rise above the comment, and think is it really worth it? God hope this JJ2 is truly not an SI supporter.

        As for the experience-good for both communities.

        • jbalan says:

          Whoever JJ2 is, in the last hour or so, he/she has posted a ridiculous number of comments under the name of several of our regular commenters. Most of those comments have not been approved That IP address is now blocked from commenting on this site.

    • jdaz says:

      If someone put athletics over academics they would not be at Lick or University. That is a fact!

  13. Jj2 be trippin says:

    Yo jj2 maybe the craziest person I’ve ever seen on this sight I’m pretty sure lick and uni graduate about 98-99% of their students each with almost all of them going to four year colleges. They are among the top schools in the city if not the state academically. Eliot smith and randy Bressolo are not saying school is more important then sports but rewarding STUDENT-athletes with the opportunity to play on an NBA court. Not hating on anybody on any other school in san Francisco but I wouldn’t be afraid to say that the team gpa for both of these schools would rank among the smartest schools in San Francisco athletics

  14. jbalan says:

    That is not conceivable.

  15. EliotSmithTigerCampgoer says:

    I think that JJ2’s comments are COMPLETELY out of left field!!! Not only is JJ2betrippin right when he says that “98-99% of their students each with almost all of them going to four year colleges” (JJ2betrippin), but I know for a fact that elliot smith personally pushes every person on that team to be a better person!!
    I’ve been to tiger camp for the last 8 years of my life, ever since 5th grade, and i look forward to touching the green dot every day of those fleeting weeks of summer and winter!!! I’ve seen players like Marcus Wells, Matt Witlin, Granger Tripp, and now Isaiah Boone come through Lick-Wilmerding in my time at camp, and Elliot is an amazing influence on the guys!!!
    I dont go to Lick, but if I did, I’m sure Eliot wouldnt put “Sports>School” (JJ2). I’m sure that Randy wouldn’t either!!

  16. balleraholic says:

    Lick outplayed Uni hands down!! Live by the three die by the three. Lick has some length and quickness and plays tough D. Still a ways to go before it’s all said and done. Urban at Lick Tuesday night at Lick should be a good one!!

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