The San Quentin Kings, who normally play teams visiting from the Bay Area on Saturdays, played a special game on Sunday, Aug. 12, against Shoe Palace, from the Coast Side – Half Moon Bay, in Pacifica. The Kings won 86-68.
The victory improved the Kings record for this season to 5-9. It was their fourth consecutive win.
“We’re turning the corner,” King Center Jason Robinson said. “The key is playing together, supporting each other. Without that, it ‘don’t’ matter how much you win.”
Robinson, at 6’5” and 255 lbs., set the tone of the game. He and Kings’ power forward D. “Zayd” Nickolson dominated inside on the Shoe Palace team. Each scored 14 points with 14 rebounds.
Former King turned referee Antonio Manning suited up to play for the Kings one last time. At half-time he announced to both teams that the parole board found him suitable for release.
“This basketball program has given me a sense of community and support,” Manning said. “This country has its up and downs, but it’s the people that make it up. When I get outside, I will continue to reach back inside because it makes a huge difference in these people’s lives.”
Manning added 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal to the stat sheets.
A retiree, Joel Rosenthal put the Shoe Palace team together. He worked for the Veteran Affairs Office for 31 years.
“We go into prison for outreach,” Rosenthal said.
Last year the Kings battled back from a four-point deficient in the last 45 seconds to win the game. This year, the Kings dominated from the second quarter on. In the third quarter with 6 minutes and 20 seconds left in the quarter, the Kings were ahead 24 points.
Rosenthal’s team used to be called the Domiciliary team, named after the VA department, where he formerly worked. Now wearing reversal jersey donated by their sponsor George Mersho, owner of the Shoe Palace, they returned to San Quentin under their new name with many of the same players.
“Same team, same players, just different results,” Nick Newman said.
In the fourth quarter, Newman tried to forge a comeback with 20 points and 12 rebounds with help from teammate Agustin “Goose” Arroyo.
Arroyo started the first quarter with two turnovers. In the four quarter, Arroyo grabbed boards and nailed three treys from behind the arc. He finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 5 turnovers.
The Kings out ran the Shoe Palace team with an up-tempo game, guards leading the way.
King Guard Joshua “JB” Burton led all scorers with 23 points. King Shooting Guard Oris “Pep” Williams added 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
King Guard Charles “Pookie” Sylvester came off the bench and scored 6 points. Two of the buckets were off passes from center Mario Williams who finished with 8 points, 11 boards, 4 steals, and 3 assists.
“I think it’s important for both community members and the incarcerated population to join together to develop partnerships that make things better for both,” said George Kennedy, who does reentry with veterans and who escorted Shoe Palace into the prison. “It is honest fun, and I think it gives everybody hope.”
PPI’s “Correctional Control: Incarceration and Supervision by State” is the first report to aggregate data on all types of correctional control nationwide.
–By Rahsaan Thomas