The visiting Prison Sports Ministry’s Green Team swept the San Quentin Warriors and Kings. They beat the Warriors for the third straight time this season, winning 79-76. The Kings fell short at the buzzer, losing 62-59.
“The Kings are not as athletic as the Warriors, but they play better as a unit – smart team basketball,” Green Team’s Patrick Lacey said.
Eleven Green Team players showed up, including Evan Fjeld, who played in the NBA D-league, as well as former Claremont-McKenna college basketball players Chris Blees, Lacey, Remy Pinson, Kevin Sullivan and Jack Grodahl. Newcomers Eric Grodahl, Jack’s brother, who played for Stanford, and Finis Jones, who played for Cal-State Eastbay, Hayward back in 2009, joined the fold.
The Warriors tried to beat the Green Team with isolation plays by the likes of Tevin Fournette, Harry “ATL” Smith, Allan McIntosh, Cornell Shields and Andre “NBA” Belion.
The game came down to who missed first. Smith put the Warriors up, 71-69, with a beast move to the basket. He was fouled with 1:30 left but missed the free throw.
Pinson took the lead back with a three-pointer, making the score 72-71.
With 24 seconds left and the Warriors down 78-74, McIntosh rebounded a teammate’s missed shot and laid it up, leaving the Warriors down two. They fouled Blees to stop the clock, but he missed both free throws, leaving the Warriors with the ball and 12 seconds.
The buzzer sounded with the Warriors down 79-76.
Smith led the Warriors with 20 points and 20 rebounds.
Fjeld led the Green Team with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Pinson and Jack Grodahl each scored 14 points.
Before the Kings game, Fjeld, Blees, Pinson, the Grodahl brothers and Kevin Sullivan left the prison, leaving the Green Team with only five players and one starter.
Lacey accepted the challenge, leading the Green Team over the Kings with 27 points and 16 rebounds with help from San Quentin resident Matthew Carnegie.
“They made plays down the stretch, and we didn’t,” said Kings Head Coach Orlando Harris. “I’m satisfied with how we played; we were leading until about five minutes left in the game.”
The Kings looked crisp with sharp passes, the aggressive rebounding of Damon Cooke and shooting of Oris “Pep” Williams.
Williams led the Kings with 19 points. Cooke came off the bench and had 10 boards and three points.
The game came down to the final seconds. The Green Team led 60-58 with the ball and 39 seconds left.
The Kings fouled Jones, whose game is more defense than offense.
“You fouled the wrong guy this time,” claimed Green Team sponsor Don Smith, who attended the game with his wife, Annie.
Jones made one free throw, increasing the lead to 61-58.
“The trash talking made me feel like family,” Jones said.
Then Kevin Macpherson fouled King Joshua Burton while blocking his shot.
Burton made the first free throw and missed the second. Carnegie snatched the rebound, leaving 10 seconds on the clock.
The Kings fouled Lacey. His free throw made the score 62-59 with eight seconds.
King trey-specialist Aubra-Lamont “Coo-coo” McNeely had the ball behind the arc with a good look. He took the potential game-tying shot but missed. Carnegie grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
“The key to victory was keeping Harry out of the game,” smirked Green Team’s Harry Webb about his one for 11 shooting from the field. He rode the bench in the fourth quarter.
Webb delivered a half-time message to both teams about God’s unconditional love for everyone.
“I had a perfect life, but I cheated and ended up in a downward spiral,” Webb said. “We all battle with giving up, but no matter what you do, God will never give up on you.”