The San Quentin Kings looked good in their pre-season opener. But, they lost the March 24 game 62-53 to the visiting Trailblazers.
The Kings took the green-blue outdoor basketball court dressed like professional players in brand-new jerseys, white with gold lettering and black stripes plus a gold crown on the front with “Kings” written underneath.
Ryan Williams Steer, a Trailblazer sponsor and player, designed the uniforms.
Although the Kings played a sluggish first half and fell behind by 13 points, new recruit Trevor Bird showed promise. He made three of his first four shots.
“I like to get in, energize the team, and get a rotation going, but I wish I had more wind to keep the energy up,” Bird said.
In the free world, Bird played football. In prison, for the past few years, he’s played baseball for the San Quentin Giants. This season, the all-around athlete decided to add basketball to his resume.
“The beauty of the sports program is it brings in visitors, and I get to play with other races, just as if I was in the community, and it gives me a healthy respect for community,” Bird said.
Bird finished as the second leading scorer for the Kings with 10 points in his debut. Point guard Tare “Cancun” Beltranchuc led the Kings with 11 points.
In the second half, the Kings tried to make a comeback, but three Trailblazers had double-doubles to keep them ahead.
Greg Tang led the Trailblazers with 16 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, followed by Steer with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists. Rob Nesmith added another 15 points and 12 rebounds with 2 assists.
Oris “Pep” Williams tried to put the Kings on his back in the fourth quarter, but he couldn’t get it going. He scored six points with 12 rebounds.
“I played decent,” Williams said. “I didn’t play my usual game. I wasn’t looking to score. I was trying to play defense and assist new players on the team.”
King point guard Joshua Burton, who scored 9 points, with 5 rebounds and 2 steals, said, “I need to tighten up on my decision making.”
Bird added, “We’re still searching for team chemistry. Once we know each other, we’ll definitely get the wins this season.”