By Josh Levine
Even after jumping out to a 16-0 lead with a barrage of four three-pointers, Leadership High School’s boys basketball team only managed to squeak past International with a 48-45 non-league road win on Friday.
The Jaguars (0-2) had a chance to tie the game in the final moments, when Alex Seutin hoisted up a three-point attempt over Leadership forward T.J. Smith. Seutin’s shot bounced off the rim and off another Leadership player, giving International one final chance with 2 seconds left. Seutin took a second attempt from the corner, but shot failed to fall as time expired.
The win is the first of the year for the Griffins (1-1), which opened the season with a 72-24 loss to Lick-Wilmerding on Wednesday.
“As bad as we played today, we played hard and didn’t quit,” said first-year Leadership head coach Terry Jones. “We are a work in progress and everyday is a step for us to try and get better. This win puts us in the right direction.”
Leadership attacked the International offense with a full-court, man-to-man defense that stunned the Jaguars and forced 25 turnovers. Jones, who played for Balboa from 1994 to 1998, feels the high-pressure game plan is a San Francisco tradition.
“I was taught that pressure bursts pipes,” Jones said. “It forces them to wear down and hopefully make all of the mistakes . . . It’s all I know how to use. We’re all out, all the time.”
On top of the turnovers, the Jaguars went scoreless for the first 4 minutes of game time, and allowed the hot-shooting Griffins to open up the early lead.
“It’s tough out there. I mean, we try to get these kids prepared for the press,” said first-year International head coach Jamal Baqleh. “We don’t have too many returners, so it’s going to take time and practice. When we went down 16-0 early, I told them it was time to wake up out there. We just broke down early, but I’m not complaining about their play. It’s an improvement from last game.”
The game ultimately came down to Leadership’s ability to knock down three-pointers. The Griffins connected on eight long-distance attempts, while the Jaguars made just one. Jesse Quintana, Gavin Lee and Paul Altamirano each contributed multiple threes.
Lee finished with a team-high 14 points and Quintana added 12, while International’s Elliott Beilin led all scorers with 15 points. Seutin (12 points) and Hugo Thommasson (10) also scored in double figures for the Jaguars.
Gavin Lee – 14
Jesse Quintana – 12
Paul Altamirano – 7
T.J. Smith – 6
Charlie Comner – 5
Elliott Beilin – 15
Alex Seutin – 12
Hugo Thommasson – 10
Eddie Hammer – 7
Gabriel Landaverde – 1