DALY CITY — It looks like life without Max Fried isn’t as grim as imagined.
Playing without their star senior center, who suffered injuries when slipping on a floor that would eventually be deemed unplayable last Friday, the University Red Devils still managed to open the 2018 Bud Bresnahan Blue and Gold Classic with a 58-45 win over the Aragon Dons.
The three-time defending champions of Jefferson’s tournament led just 26-23 at halftime, but outscored the Dons 17-8 in the third quarter behind a well-rounded attack that played with far more poise than one would expect out of such an inexperienced group.
“We’ve got a lot of young players who are going to be good, and our plan was for them to develop as the season goes along,” said head coach Randy Bessolo. “Max being out forced them to develop a lot sooner than we anticipated, and I think a lot of them have really stepped up.”
Five different scorers got involved with a 12-2 run to open the third quarter, and Aragon (0-2) would never be able to get closer than eight points from there. Sam Manu scored six of his game-high 19 points in the third to keep the Dons within range, including a spinning layup off a stretch pass to close the quarter after back-to-back threes by three-year starter Charley Moore and sophomore Raki Cabrera-Scarlata.
After a pair of Christian Heng free throws opened up a 15-point lead with 6:33 left, Aragon used an 8-2 run over the next 90 seconds to cut the lead to 49-40.
David Avak scored in the paint and Jason Mangini hit a 3-pointer to force Bessolo to use a timeout. University (2-0) was able to spend much of the remainder of the game at the free throw line, and though they shot just 10-for-18 as a team from there, Heng made seven of his ten attempts as part of his 11-point night.
Moore led the Red Devils with 15 and Cabrera-Scarlata had nine, all on 3-pointers. Noah Salah scored nine for Aragon, all in the second quarter.
Galileo 55, Jefferson 49: For the last four years, the Jefferson Grizzlies had chosen Galileo to open the tournament, and in each of those meetings, the hosts had taken care of the Lions, including three straight beatdowns of at least 20 points. That wouldn’t be the case this time around.
Ryan Huang scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the first half and Galileo led by as much as 19 in the fourth quarter before a late Jefferson surge.
Huang made seven threes on the night and shot 5-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first half, a far cry from his 1-for-10 shooting performance in Tuesday’s loss at Terra Nova, in which he finished with just two points.
“We knew he was a shooter,” said Jefferson head coach John Falabella. “He shot seven quick-shot threes in that game, so I’m not surprised by what he did tonight. A guy who takes quick shots is confident.”
Huang’s fifth three put Galileo (1-1) up 26-19, and the Lions led by as much as 10 in the first half after a layup from Kevin Sheehan.
“The Terra Nova game was an anomaly,” said Lions coach Jeremy Lee. “He might not shoot as well as he did today, but we have confidence that he can knock down all the shots that he took.”
Though Huang did cool off to some extent in the second half, the rest of his team engineered a 14-2 run to start the fourth quarter to all but put the game away. Asa Mobley scored to open the quarter and got a second layup shortly thereafter off a steal. Huang’s seventh and final three stretched the lead to 47-31, and Jason Lei hit a three for his only points of the night to grow the lead to 19.
From there, Jefferson (0-1) made noise, and the Grizzlies could have really put some pressure on Galileo if they had a couple more minutes. Marquez Costiniano scored eight of his team-high 18 points during the 16-3 run to end the game, but two free throws by Robert Yu with 1:02 left stretched the lead to 54-40. The Grizzlies would score the game’s final nine points, with Saif Fara — who had a game-high 12 rebounds — sinking a spinning three as the buzzer sounded to make the final score look more respectable.
“We’re still growing as a team on the offensive and defensive ends,” said Falabella. “The last few years, we’ve clicked in late January and early February, and the goal is to click at the same time this year.”
Mobley scored 12 for Galileo, while Fara’s last-second shot left him a point shy of a double-double. Huang was the Lions’ lead rebounder with seven.
Galileo went just 5-9 in Academic Athletic Association play last year, and hasn’t posted double-digit win totals for an entire season since 2013-14, but with Huang and others starting the year strong, there’s reason to believe things are about to change.
“We have high hopes this year,” said Huang. “Top four definitely.”
Independence 69, Lowell 56: In the first game of the afternoon, 6-foot-3 Rishi Raghavan scored 22 points, sinking four 3-pointers, and adding eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as the Cardinals fell in a battle between the largest schools in San Francisco and San Jose.
“Rishi’s great,” said first-year head coach Chris Lavdiotis, who had served as Piedmont’s head coach for 24 years. “He really showed some confidence today.”
Independence (1-0) got 18 points from Jason Tang and 11 from James Cahiga and led by double-digits for most of the second half as Lowell (0-1) couldn’t overcome the turnover bug.
The Cardinals turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, and though they gave it up just five times in the final 16 minutes, hot shooting by the 76ers in the second half put the game away. Just as Cahiga ended the first quarter with a deep 3-pointer, Tang did the same to end the third and restore a 10-point lead, after Lowell had cut it to seven on J.T. Reyes’ fourth and final three of the day.
“Our defense wasn’t very good, and our lack of height can hurt us,” said Lavdiotis. “We have to be better in our half-court defense.”
Reyes finished with 18, while Joshua Ng added seven. Gilbert Villanueva and Anthony Sanchez each scored eight for the 76ers, who will face Galileo in Friday’s final game.
Albany-St. Mary’s 91, Washington 54: Despite opening the game in a 21-0 hole and getting outscored 29-6 in the final quarter, the Eagles largely hung with the Northern California Division IV finalists in the middle segment of the game.
Washington (0-2) closed the first on a 12-4 run and was outscored by just three points in each of the next two quarters thanks to big performances from Jackie Luong (19 points, 9-10 FTs) and Da’Jon Aranas (14 points). Aranas scored 12 of the Eagles’ 14 points in the third quarter.
Jason Roche sank six 3-pointers for the Panthers as part of his tournament-high 27-point night, and Damiri Lindo added 18. In all, St. Mary’s (1-1) saw 10 players score at least five points. The Panthers, led by former Riordan head coach Rich Buckner, put together a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter as their reserves outclassed the Washington bench.
3:15: Washington vs. Aragon
4:45: Lowell @ Jefferson
6:15: St. Mary’s vs. University
7:45: Independence vs. Galileo