The visiting Trailblazers seized the final game of the season with a 74-60 win over the San Quentin Kings. The triumph brought the combined Trailblazer/Bittermen team record to 7-7 against the Kings.
The Nov. 18 game was the last for Aubra-Lamont “Coocoo” McNeely, Kings three-point specialist, who is scheduled to parole before next season begins.
“We’re going to miss you,” Kings Head Coach Orlando “Duck” Harris told him.
“We aren’t retiring your jersey number,” Kings shooting guard Charles “Pookie” Sylvester joked.
When the first quarter began, it was the Trailblazers putting on a three-point clinic. They nailed four in the first quarter, including one from the top of the key by Bittermen and Trailblazers coach Ted Saltveit.
“My teammates were looking for minutes so they started to get the ball to the coach,” Saltveit joked. He ended with 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and a block.
By halftime the Kings were already down 36-22.
Kings General Manager Brian Asey honored the scorekeepers, Jack Benford and Anthony Taylor, and encouraged them to share a few words.
“I tried out for the 40-and-over Kings, but coach said I eat too much fried chicken and bologna sandwiches,” Benford joked. “I came out to keep the stats and enjoy the camaraderie. When I see outside people blow a gasket, I say, ‘Ooh, they human.’ It’s entertaining.”
The Kings closed the gap in the third quarter, led by Oris “Pep” Williams, McNeely and power forward D. “Zyad” Nicholson. By the end of the third, the Kings were down 50-43.
For the Kings, Williams led the game with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal; Nicholson added 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal. In his final game for the Kings, McNeely dropped 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist.
In the fourth quarter, the Trailblazers went on a run led by Ryan Steer’s 29 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.
Ian Ashcraft-Williams added 18 points, 13 rebounds, an assist and 2 blocks; Greg Tang contributed 10, with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
“Two wins in a row and we didn’t even need Ryan to score 30—he scored 29,” Saltveit joked.
Steer added, “This [playing basketball in San Quentin] is unique. It’s going to be a long winter without San Quentin.”