STUART HALL — Nigel Burris has been well-established as one of the Bay Area’s best sophomores, frequently taking over games with his shooting and rebounding.
In Monday’s 69-58 win over the Mission Bears, though, the young Stuart Hall star made his impact with some crafty passing down the stretch to prevent a late comeback.
Burris was the game’s leading scorer and rebounder, with 19 points and 12 boards, but when Mission (5-9) tried to make a fourth-quarter surge, it was two Burris assists that ensured momentum wouldn’t completely go the way of the Bears.
“When we play fast and get guys in transition, we play really well,” said Burris. “Passing is something I’ve been working on, and I thought we moved the ball well.”
Baskets by Matt Cohn and Ben Knight to close the third quarter left Mission down by just 11, but a smooth pass in the key from Burris to Jay-Henry Ryan started the fourth quarter to put Stuart Hall (10-4) up 53-40.
Ryan and Burris would combine for the first four Knights baskets on the quarter, with Burris scoring to make it 60-44 before a 7-0 Mission run. A backcourt turnover gave the Bears a chance for a fourth straight basket, but after a Bears miss, Stuart Hall took it the length of the court and off an offensive rebound, Burris deposited a great pass to Spencer O’Brien-Steele to restore a double-digit lead.
Jaraughn Torno’s fourth 3-pointer of the game would cut the lead to eight, but Mission wouldn’t score again for the next three minutes, and another basket by Burris and five of Miles Amos’ 13 points would put the game away.
Knight led Mission with 18 points while Torno added 16.
It’s the sort of game that had its share of ugliness, as the Bears made just three of 12 free throws, but losing the turnover battle just 13-12 despite playing at a breakneck pace is certainly a sign of a team rounding into form.
“I’m not so worried about our record,” said Arnold Zelaya. “We have our assessments to figure out what we have and what we don’t have, and you figure those things out against good competition. We’re learning a lot.”
Andre Villarino and David Sonnier each scored nine for the Bears, while The Hall got eight apiece from O’Brien-Steele, Ryan and Alex Byrd. Matt Cohn had ten rebounds for Mission, while Amos was two boards shy of a double-double.