SQ mainline buildings had a basketball competition where North Block emerged as champs and put a grown man whooping on the young H-Unit B-Ball competitors when they beat them in a match on Friday March 25th. The score, 72 – 50.
Jeff Brown organized a competitive match-up between all of the mainline buildings: North Block, West Block, Alpine and H-Unit. He was determined to revive the sports enthusiasm of the prison and display for the many new comers at the prison, a taste of what life in San Quentin’s sports world look like.
“I did this to give people something to do and since we have a bunch of new guy’s here at the prison, I wanted to show them how it’s done here,” said Brown in an interview during one of the matches. Brown is a dedicated B-Ball enthusiast who, even though an elderly man, spends some of his time indulging in a pick –up game or two on the court.
To describe the B-Ballers skill-set by age, you can determine that much of the older ballers are in the buildings of North Block and West Block. While much of Alpine and H-Unit is majority where all the youth reside.
“We all look like we just rolled out of beds and got out of our rocking chairs,” Greg Eskridge said through laughter. “But, I hope this was inspiring for the guys and also give them something to look forward to when they get old.”
In this case age was not a factor even though the Rasta dreads swung on most of the youth while the shaved heads of the older men dripped sweat when they were hustling and bustling up and down the court.
The competitions kicked off during the month of March Madness, ironically emulating the structure of the final four. In the first match-up the young H-Unit team knocked down the West Block older team in a tense and grueling game.
Then North Blocks older athletes smashed the younger Alpine ballers even though both teams played their hearts out. However, the victories resulted in what became the basketball competition of the yard – H-Unit –vs.- North Block.
The sideline erupted when North Blocks big man Brandon Browner hustled down the court , making a swift pass to Dontaye “007” Harris who scored a pretty lay-up under the bucket. H-Units forward Raiveon Wooden answered back with a three-pointer. His teammate, Yah Ya Abdul-Malik made another bucket that brought them within one point towards the end of the first quarter.
With one minute left in the first, North Blocks leading scorer Delvy Adams bust a long range three-pointer. Wooden rush back on offense and made a bucket to end the quarter. North Block led 20-14.
“They had the stamina and endurance to run up and down the court and fresh legs, but with no guidance and no destination the youngsters was wearing themselves down,” said new comer to the prison, Henok Rufael.
HIGH SCORERS BY UNIT
DELVY ADAMS 31 PTS
BRANDON BROWNER 15 PTS
DONTAYE HARRIS 11 PTS
S. TILMAN 9 PTS
ROMAN YERKOVICH 12 PTS
YAHYAH ABDUL MALIK 12 PTS
RAIVEON WOODEN 10 PTS
Head coach Jermaine Gurley of the H-Unit squad agrees with the perspective of new comer Rufael. “We started out with a game plan,” said Coach Gurley. “But, when we came out to play we did the total opposite. We got the age difference, the health advantage, we press on defense and run them around, but we have no chemistry. However, I commend my guys for coming out and not quitting, that shows their true character.”
The second quarter North Block breakout coach Lee Smothers made it even harder for the H-Unit young team by subbing in their big man Rick Hale who was towering over the young squad.
“I’m proud to get this win on my coaching debut.” Smothers said. “But the guys made it easy. They played together and have done so for a long time.”
But the young ballers weren’t making it easy. Wooden’s defense was treacherous. He blocked a hopeful three pointer of Adams but North Blocks point guard Jamaal “Do it all” Harrison returned the favor by batting down a shot of Wooden.
The game was heated up. H-Units big man Jada Grandersin got in early foul trouble and that hurt the offense of the young team.
The score was 35-19 until H-Units other big man Walt “Green-eyes” Shaynyuk made two free throw shots at the line which sparked the optimism of the sideline. Harrison quenched that hope when he made an old school Michael Jordan 15 foot turn- around jumper over the big man. Big man Jada made a well contested three pointer at the buzzer leaving North Block still in the lead at 46-24.
North Block took off and went on a run, leaving the young team in the dust. The great defense of the young Yah Yah Malik and him making the last contested three-pointer was not enough for the team to come back. North Blocks S. Tilman hit the final two points that ended the game at 72 – 50.