The visiting Green Team basketball players encountered something unexpected when they came to San Quentin’s Lower Yard. What they noticed was a youthful bunch of new players for the San Quentin Warriors.
Only two older men, Allan McIntosh and Brad Shells, were in the SQ starting lineup.
Dajon Moore, 19, said Warrior’s Coach Rafael Cuevas approached him and a group of younger basketball players and asked if they wanted to play a game against the SQ Warriors.
Lead by Matthew Carnegie, 30, the younger players beat the veterans.
“We beat the Warriors so now we get to suit up against the Green Team,” Moore said. “As long as we keep winning, he’s gonna let us keep playing against the outside teams. That Warriors jersey feels good on me.”
On June 17, the Green Team showed up loaded with talent and beat the SQ Warriors, 79-67.
The Green Team was made up of former oversea pro Reilly Griffin, five former Claremont-McKenna College basketball players, a former Washington and Golden State Warriors Assistant General Manager Kirk Lacob.
“I’m glad to be back; I’m sorry I couldn’t make it during the finals,” said Lacob, the 2017 NBA champion.
In the first three minutes of the game, the Green Team went on a 9-0 run, capitalizing on sloppy SQ passes and forced shots.
The Green Team stayed composed and unselfish.
Seven minutes into the first quarter, the Green Team’s Beau Heidrich missed a three-pointer from the left corner. Green Team’s Patrick Lacey grabbed the offensive board, stepped back and knocked down a deep three-pointer, putting the Green Team up, 15-4.
With four seconds left in the second, the Green Team’s Chris Blees crossed over and drove baseline, high off the backboard that made the score 42-23 at the half.
“I love coming in here. I love playing with these guys; we’re all a big family. Definitely the highlight of my week,” Lacey said.
During the second half, Carnegie, Shells, and McIntosh started picking up the slack on offense and defense. Nine minutes into the third quarter, Shells grabbed a rebound and found McIntosh with a half-court pass. McIntosh drove to the rack for the and-one, completing the three-point play.
Carnegie logged 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals and an assist. SQ Warrior McIntosh dropped 18 points. Shells led both teams in blocks with four. He also finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
“The YOPs (youngsters) played an outstanding game,” Warrior Brad Shells said. “They were thrown off in the beginning by the enormousness of the game, but once they slowed down, they played great. I’m really proud of them.”
Griffin led all scorers with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Blees added 11 points and 12 rebounds; Lacey, 9 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists; Heidrich dropped three treys.
In this specific encounter, the roster of mostly new comers wasn’t experienced enough at playing organized basketball against former pro and college basketball talent. They have the athleticism, but one-on-one basketball couldn’t beat a team that shares the ball and stays calm like the Green Team.