SQ Kings end losing season with victory

The San Quentin Kings ended their last game of a losing season with an 87-83 overtime win over the visiting Bittermen basketball team.

“We salvaged the season,” joked Kings Coach Orlando Harris. “Even though they won the season series, they have to go home and sit with this loss for the entire off season. I’m gonna send him (Bittermen Coach Ted Saltveit) a copy of the paper.”

The Bittermen led 75-72 with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter when the Kings made a run. J. “Mailman” Ratchford made a pass to Thad Fleeton who scored inside, making it 75-74 with 1:47 on the clock.

On defense, Ratchford blocked Per Casey’s third consecutive layup attempt.
Then Ratchford got back down court in time for teammate Demond Lewis to pass him the ball for an inside score, putting the Kings ahead 76-75.

“If they gave that effort every time we played, we wouldn’t be 13-16,” Harris said.

Trailblazer Ryan Steer, who also plays for the Bittermen, stole the ball and laid it up to put his team back in front, 77-76.

The Bittermen fouled to stopping the clock at 20 seconds.

Lewis went to the line to shoot free throws after being fouled. He missed the first but made the second to tie the score at 77.

On defense, Thad Fleeton snatched the ball from Steer to end regulation play with a stop, sending the game into overtime.

In OT, the Kings took over starting with an assist from Oris “Pep” Williams for a turn-around post jumper made by Fleeton.

Steer missed a three-point attempt, and the Kings never looked back.

Ted Saltveit coached the Bittermen to their first winning season ever against the Kings.

Harris still feels everybody won.

“To have outside people come in here and share their life stories is big,” Harris said. “My takeaway is having this chance to build community and knowing how much we impact each other for the better.”

–Rahsaan Thomas


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