KEZAR PAVILION — With 30 seconds to go in the first game of the best-of-three San Francisco Pro-Am championship series, and the crowd on its feet at Kezar Pavilion, Cal guard Juhwan Harris-Dyson slammed home his fourth dunk in three minutes.
Dream Team, led by 28 points from the Golden Bears’ junior, beat East Bay 104-94 to take a 1-0 lead in the series heading into game two Wednesday night.
Though the red-clad Dream Team required two more games to reach the Pro-Am championships than East Bay —beating SF City and Oakland Believers — it boasted a stacked roster heading into Game One, including Harris-Dyson, former San Francisco State standout Marquel Hoskins and former Santa Cruz Warrior Juan Anderson.
On Monday night, though, it was Harris-Dyson who was the star of the show. Harris-Dysonled all scorers and formed a potent fastbreak pairing with Hoskins to score quick buckets against a talented East Bay squad.
East Bay made the game close down the stretch – taking a 57-55 lead in the third quarter after trailing 49-45 at halftime – but it was superior defense and teamwork that made the difference.
“Some people can get in their own head,” Harris-Dyson said, “and I used to be like that myself, but I just try to keep my teammates up, keep them going. Just always playing defense and hustling and giving 110 percent every game.”
East Bay’s brother pairing of Franco and Jovan Harris — the former scoring a team-high 23 points and the latter being awarded his second Pro-Am MVP before the game — were poised to cut the Dream Team lead — which grew as large as 13 points — down to one possession late in the game.
Harris-Dyson wouldn’t allow it. Each time East Bay tried to make a run, he stemmed the tide with an exclamation point, striding down court for a one-handed jam.
“It’s just a momentum killer,” Harris-Dyson said of his dunks. “It’s like putting a dagger in somebody’s heart. They had a lot of momentum, they were scoring, they were getting on runs. We were talking as a team about just finding a way to stop all that momentum.”
In the fourth quarter, Harris-Dyson grabbed an offensive rebound off a Hoskins missed three, went back up the court and finished a contested layup over Jovan Harris, flexing as he put the Dream Team up 97-86. Over the last five minutes of the game, Dream Team never led by fewer than seven points.
Heading into game two, Jovon Harris keyed in on the improvements East Bay needs to make if they are to force a pivotal third game.
“We’ve got to control momentum,” Harris said. “Control the tempo. They’re long and athletic, so we’ve just got to control our offensive and defensive end.”
Game Two will be played at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Kezar Pavilion.