Despite both San Quentin home teams playing great basketball, the visiting Green Team swept them. They beat the Kings 87-79 and the Warriors 67-60.
“They’re strong defensively; we just adjusted in the second half,” said Evan Fjeld, a former NBA D-Leaguer.
The San Quentin Warriors played without starters Allan Macintosh (suspension), Tevin Tourette (injury) and Anthony Ammons (out to court).
The Green Team showed up with Fjeld (University of Vermont Catamounts) and former All-Americans Chris Blees (Claremont-McKenna) and Blake Schultz (Williams College 2010). All three brought former teammates in to play, including 6-foot-7 Luke Apfeld (University of Vermont), Shane Davis, Beau Heidrich, Patrick Lacey (Claremont-McKenna), and Jordan Mickens (Williams). Lacey even brought in his dad, Tom, who played in San Quentin 37 years ago. Plus, Golden State Warriors Assistant GM Kirk Lacob came with the Warriors’ former Director of Finance and Development, Ben Draa.
The Warriors trailed in the first, 19-14 but caught up with the help of a defensive stop.
With 2 minutes left in the half, Warrior Greg Eskridge blocked Blees’ layup from behind as teammate Brad Shells fronted him. Then Eskridge snatched the ball and passed it on the fast break to Shells, who converted to tie the score at 23-23. The quarter ended with the score tied at 24-24 from free throws.
“We’re trusting each other on the back side defense,” Shells said.
At the start of the third, Apfeld set the tone, dunking on Green Team’s first possession.
“He (Apfeld) was nice,” said Warrior Terrell Price Sr. “They (the Green Team) always bring a certain level of talent.”
Apfeld said, “It’s a humbling experience (playing in San Quentin). Basketball has been the best thing in my life, family aside, so I love to share that.”
Andre “NBA” Belion responded with a layup. Harry “ATL” Smith led the Warriors with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 assists. Shells finished with 10 points and 7 boards.
Fjeld led the Green Team with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists and 3 blocks. Apfeld added 13 points, 9 boards, 3 assists and 2 blocks and Schultz contributed 10 points, 5 rebounds, 6 steals, and 3 assists, while Blees, who has gained 15 pounds playing more golf than basketball lately, scored 5 points with 8 rebounds.
The lead went back and forth until the final two minutes. Both the Kings and Warriors games came down to Heinrich.
“Someone needed to go get two steals and a couple of blocks and I decided that person would be me,” Heinrich said about the Warriors game.
Heinrich made key defensive stops and nailed a clutch three-pointer with 1:45 on the clock, increasing the Green Team led 63-58. Then Heinrich stole the ball and got it to Fjeld, who added another deuce with 1:01 left. Heinrich added two more points from free throws to finish with 7 points, 3 steals, two blocks and 3 rebounds from off the bench.
In the second game under the scorching sun, the Kings took an 18 point lead.
Heinrich led the comeback push with back-to-back three-pointers. He finished in the second game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and a block. Blees came alive against the forty-and-over Kings, scoring 24 points with 17 rebounds, followed by Lacey with 16 and 15 to close the game out, 87-79.
Julio Saca led the Kings with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Lacey expressed that coming into San Quentin was about more than basketball.
“You guys are an inspiration. Life is not always fair. It could be me in here. You guys deal with a lot and through it all, you keep your head up and try to be better people. When I go through troubles, I think about you guys and how you handle things.”