By Rahsaan Thomas
Brad Shells’ tip-in basket sent the San Quentin Warriors into overtime, where they defeated the Christian Sports Ministry’s Green Team, 100-93. Green Team beat the Kings, 84-70, in the doubleheader.
“Pat and I were battling for the ball, and as he pushed me, I reached up. I was in the right position to make the play,” said Shells. He finished with 16 points, six rebounds, a steal and a block.
The Green Team rallied from down 19 and took the lead toward the end of the fourth with great plays. Matt Richardson stole an inbound ball and passed it behind his back to Ben Ilegbodu for a layup. Then Richardson hit a three with 1:13 on the clock. That gave his team an 84-83 lead.
Richardson had 16 points, two assists and five steals. Ilegbodu led his team with 18 points followed by Chris Blees’ 17 with 11 rebounds.
With 29 seconds left, the Green Team with the ball and a one-point lead, the Warriors fouled Beau Heidrich to stop the clock. He made one free throw and finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.
Then Warrior Anthony Ammons went to the free-throw line with 11 seconds remaining.
“Let him miss at least one,” said Ministry sponsor Don Smith. He missed both. Shells hopped up and got the tip-in, tying the game at 85-85 with eight seconds left.
Richardson missed a three attempt for the win, but Ilegbodu got the rebound and put it up, but it fell short as time ran out in regulation.
“We had two good looks on that play,” said Ilegbodu.
“The team with the most heart and pride is going to win it,” Warriors coach Daniel Wright told his team at the start of the OT period. The Warriors went on to outscore Ministry 15-8.
Credit was given to Wright’s game plan. “I put a motion offense in to give us more versatility,” said Wright.
Ammons was moved to point guard. “I like Ant ’cause he won’t panic,” said Wright. Ammons finished with 15 points, eight rebounds plus a steal.
Donte Smith started in the place of Harry “ATL” Smith.
“I changed the lineup ’cause I can’t get some of my players to do what I need them to do,” said Wright.
H. Smith led the Warriors with 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block from off the bench.
“I think the difference was our coaching. Toward the end of the game, he put a lot of trust in our players,” said H. Smith.
The Warriors are 2-6 against Ministry this year. Wright has taken a lot of flack for the losing record against Ministry despite the Warriors’ talent.
“They have to point the finger when they lose ’cause they don’t want to look in the mirror,” said Wright. “I’ve been telling them the same things all season — they just finally listened and executed.”
“They won the first half of the season; the second half is ours,” said H. Smith. “We’re doing our thing for the Lord.”
“If we trust each other, we can win all day long,” said Shells.
The Kings remain winless against Ministry this season, losing 84-70.
P. “Strange” Walker led the Kings with 14 and 11 rebounds; Oris “Pep” Williams scored 12 with six assists; Larry “TY” Jones added 12 with seven steals, but it wasn’t enough.
They had no answer for Blees, who led all scorers with 27 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block. Guard Alex Ackerman-Greenberg added 18 with four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
“I had to stockpile points because it might be my last trip out. I’m moving to Bristol, Conn.,” said Ackerman-Greenberg.
Pat Lacey did the dirty work on the boards with 18 rebounds, 12 points, three assists, three blocks and a steal.
“We needed somebody to rebound; I can do that,” said Lacey. “They play a crafty zone, so you have to come to play,” he added.
Ross Pusey coached and played, adding 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Green team in the doubleheader.
The game stayed close in the first three quarters, which ended 18-18, 36-35 and 54-51. Then Pusey’s strategy kicked in. “Being 20 years younger, we’re hoping that their legs go out before ours do,” Pusey half-joked about the 40-and-over Kings Team in the Aug. 3 double-header.
By Rahsaan Thomas