BCL rivals get bigger stage

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A big Bay Counties League rivalry will get an even bigger stage Friday when the Lick-Wilmerding and University boys’ basketball teams face off at Oracle Arena.

The game will take place at 2:30 p.m., preceding the Warriors’ 7:30 p.m. game against the Miami Heat.

“The whole school is really excited,” Lick-Wilmerding coach Elliot Smith said. “And for the guys on a team, when you’re doing something and everyone wants to be there, it makes you feel great.”

Lick-Wilmerding will close school at 1:30 p.m. Friday and provide two buses for students making the trip to Oakland. Admission is free to all fans interested in attending the game, which features two of the BCL West’s top teams.

Both the Tigers (9-5, 2-0 BCL West) and Red Devils (13-3, 3-0) are undefeated in league play.

The arena itself will provide some interesting wrinkles for both teams, with the 94-foot floor more than 20 feet longer than most high school courts and the thousands of seats providing a different shooting background.

The biggest X-factor could be the use of the NBA 3-point line, with the Warriors unlikely to allow the teams to mark a temporary high school line on the floor. That could have a big effect on University, which attempts an average of 20 3-pointers a game and makes 7.5, according to coach Randy Bessolo.

Coaching changes: There are new faces calling the shots for two of The City’s boys’ basketball teams as Marshall and Urban have made midseason coaching changes.

Mike Green took over the Phoenix (7-9, 2-2 Academic Athletic Association) last week and earned his first victory on Monday when senior guard Derrick Hines nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Balboa 58-57. Marshall followed that up with a win Wednesday over June Jordan 62-48.

Green, who is also Marshall’s dean of students, takes over for Michael Chennault, who stepped down due to personal reasons.

“I just want them to work hard, play hard, represent the school well and have some fun,” Green said.

Meanwhile, Urban athletic director Brendan Blakely took over the reins from former coach Eric Williams on Dec. 15 in the hopes that some new blood at the top could spark the Blues.

Urban (5-8, 0-2 BCL) had not yet won a game under Blakely entering Tuesday’s game at Marin Academy, but the coach was optimistic despite the tepid start.

“I feel good about our direction,” Blakely said. “We’re trying to emphasize some more options on offense and put some more points on the board.”

Umpiring clinic: Saturday at Riordan, veteran local umpire Tony Patch will conduct a free instructional clinic for anyone interesting in umpiring high school baseball and softball. The event begins with registration at 8 a.m. and the clinic lasts from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with lunch provided.

No previous officiating experience is necessary to participate and anyone interested should contact Patch at 664-5514.

melliser@examiner.com

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