By Jeremy Balan
The public-school gyms in San Francisco are more utilitarian than they are glamorous and that makes winning on the road that much tougher in the Academic Athletic Association.
The Lincoln boys basketball team became the second league opponent in just over a week to find out how hard it is to win at Galileo on Thursday, dropping their first AAA game of the season to the Lions 49-48 in the Marina District.
Galileo’s court is at least 15 feet shorter than regulation size and the Lions (12-8, 7-1) used that advantage to smother the previously-undefeated Mustangs’ (11-12, 7-1) frontcourt for much of the first half, but Lincoln roared back to take three separate leads in the fourth quarter.
Lincoln led by two points with 27 seconds remaining, but the Lions had the ball and a hot shooter.
On an inbound play under the Lincoln basket, Galileo senior guard Jacob Glasov peeled off of a screen on the left wing, found space and nailed a three-pointer with a Lincoln defender closing on him quickly.
“That wasn’t coaching,” said Galileo head coach Jeremy Lee. “That was players making plays. Big players step up in big moments and I couldn’t be happier for him and more proud.”
The clutch three-pointer was the third long-distance strike by Glasov in the final quarter and the senior finished with a game-high 15 points.
“The defender was right there and I just had to get a little bit higher than usual,” Glasov said of his final shot. “Coach sets up good plays for us and puts us in a position to succeed.”
Glasov’s shot was the final score of the game, but it was far from the dagger.
Lincoln turned the ball over on the next possession, but instead of waiting to wind the clock out, the Lions pushed the ball up the court, missed a shot with 12 seconds left and junior guard Khalil Rodriguez got the ensuing offensive rebound. Rodriguez immediately followed the rebound with a shot in the lane and was fouled in the process, but missed both free throws and Lincoln got the ball back with 9 seconds remaining.
With the gym in an uproar, junior forward Davion Telfor appeared to sink a running, 25-foot jump shot to give the Mustangs the win, but Lincoln head coach Matt Jackson called a time out well before – with 7 seconds left – but most of the players on the floor were not aware of the stoppage.
Lincoln still had a final opportunity, though, and after the timeout, put the ball back into Telfor’s hands. Isolated on the perimeter, Telfor worked into the key, but was immediately triple-teamed by the Galileo defense and missed his turnaround jump shot as time expired.
The final play exemplified Galileo’s defensive strategy throughout – to limit Telfor and fellow Lincoln junior Seth Snoddy by sagging off the Mustangs’ perimeter players and clogging the lane, frequently double-teaming the post players.
“We played the same defense [on the last play] that we played the whole game – make them come to us and make them make tough shots over multiple defenders,” Lee said. “If he makes the shot over two guys or half of our team, we can’t do anything about it.”
The Lions, which don’t have a player taller than 6-foot-2, limited the 6-foot-7 Snoddy to just two first-half points and took a 26-15 lead into the halftime break.
“We dug ourselves a hole early and coming back on the road takes a lot of effort,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to space the floor in a gym this size, but we had to make the right passes, we had to make free throws when they counted, and we didn’t.”
Snoddy’s difficulties ended in the third quarter, however, and the junior scored eight points in the frame to help the Mustangs erase the Galileo lead entirely. While Snoddy and senior guard Demetrius Williams (who tallied a team-high 14 points) scored, point guard Mitchell Lee played the distributor, and had four assists in the third quarter to help tie the game at 36-36 heading into the fourth.
Snoddy finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but the undersized Lions actually outrebounded the Mustangs 35-27. Along with Glasov, two other Galileo players scored in double figures and each had a double-double. Senior guard Brion Gregerson and senior forward Chris Lee each scored 11 points and took in 10 rebounds.
“The two things we wanted to do was limit our turnovers and rebound. We rebounded the heck out of the ball,” Lee said. “In both halves we rebounded well, especially down the stretch. It was a point of emphasis and they took it to heart.”
Jacob Glasov – 15
Brion Gregerson – 11
Chris Lee – 11
Khalil Rodriguez – 5
Three players tied with 2 points
Demetrius Williams – 14
Seth Snoddy – 12
Davion Telfor – 10
Tyree Marzetta – 5
Mitchell Lee – 4