Over the Labor Day weekend, several basketball players from different Prison Sports Ministry teams teamed up for a game against the San Quentin Kings and won 76-74.
“It was tough because everybody had to learn how to play with each other,” Outsider Sponsor John Brewster said. “We played as a team and it went pretty flawless.”
While most people were away celebrating Labor Day, eight basketball players— members of the Trailblazers, Green Team, Outsiders and Lincoln Hill—showed up on the Lower Yard to en- joy a game against the Kings 40-and-over team.
“I thank God for you sharing your light with us,” Kings assistant coach Ishmael Freelon told the visitors. “This is an outlet for us.”
The game was scrappy. Both teams tied at 19 to closeout the first quarter.
While the Kings got balanced scoring from an array of players, the Outsiders relied primarily on one baller: Dominique Thompson. He led all scorers with 34 points, 12 rebounds, seven steals and three assists. The tall slim man, who normally plays for Lincoln Hill, got most of his money in the painted area.
He wasn’t alone.
Chaze Russell, another Lincoln Hill player, tied the score at 34 with a three- pointer just as the ref blew his duck whistle, which signaled it was halftime.
The game came down to the final minutes. The Outsiders pulled ahead 70-62 after Russell nailed another three with 2:50 left in regulation.
The Kings came back. Jamal Harrison made a lay-up despite being fouled, but missed the free throw that followed.
With 30 seconds left, veteran King Oris “Pep” Williams rebounded the ball and put it through the rim to bring the Kings with- in three at 75- 72.
The Kings fouled Russell to stop the clock. He went to the free throw line and missed both.
King Tare “Cancun” Beltranchuc went to the rack and got fouled as he scored. He went to the line with Kings down one at 75-74 and missed the free throw that would have tied the game.
The ball bounced to the left and Thompson tried to grab it but Kings Center Jason Robinson slammed the ball out of bounds.
The ref ruled it Outsiders’ ball but the head ref overruled him. The Kings received the ball with 12 seconds on the clock and one more chance.
“I think we both hit the ball, but he had a fingernail on it more than me,” Thompson said.
The ball went to Beltranchuc and he took a short- range jumper that went in then bounced out of the rim.
Geoffrey “Free” Gary, who normally plays with the Trailblazers, grabbed the rebound.
“Refs still couldn’t give them the game,” Gary said.
The Kings fouled immediately. He made one of two free-throws and left the Kings with two seconds on the clock, down 76-74.
A desperate last second shot missed and the Outsiders got the win.
Beltranchuc, Harrison and Robinson scored 12 apiece for the Kings. Robinson also had 10 rebounds for a double-double. Beltranchuc added five steals, four assists and three rebounds while Harrison contributed six re- bounds, three steals and one assist. Williams, who is 59 years old, finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
“Pep (Williams) played big,” Gary said. “Robinson had some big rebounds and put backs.”
For the Outsiders, Gary dropped 16 points with 12 rebounds and Russell added 14 points, with four steals, four rebounds and an assist.
All involved showed they have game.
“It feels good playing with people my age; there’s unity in this,” King Harrison said. “It’s a good experience.”