It was senior night at University High School and while the seniors were honored, it was a junior who shined the brightest.
In an absolute doozy, University held off Urban 67-63 as junior point guard Brandon Lew carried the Red Devils, scoring 32 points to help his team split the Bay Counties League West championship with Stuart Hall.
Lew scored 19 of his 32 points in the first half before cramping up in the final moments, helping University secure its sixth regular-season BCL West title in the last seven years.
“It's great, it's senior night, and I wanted to do it for them,” Lew said. “This league is real competitive and I love playing league teams. You never know what's going to happen.”
Lew's three-point play with 2:48 left in the third quarter gave the Red Devils (21-5, 8-2) a 49-36 lead.
Urban (17-9, 7-3), which was gunning for its first BCL West title since 2004, chipped away at that 13-point deficit and nearly stole the win despite a seven-minute delay with 2:44 left in the fourth period. The cause of the delay was when a vent from the ceiling wouldn't stop dripping on the Urban end of the court.
Blues junior guard Rowan Williams nearly willed Urban back, scoring eight of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter. Urban sophomore Austin Brenner's left-corner 3-pointer with 41 seconds left in regulation cut University's lead to one, 62-61.
However, down 65-63 with 10 seconds left, Williams' top of the key jumper grazed of the rim, giving University the home win on senior night.
“Both teams played hard, and give [University] credit, they did what they needed to do,” Urban head coach Joe Skiffer said. “They almost blew us out twice, but we came back with a lot of resolve and a lot of character, and came back as a team and almost forced overtime. We'll see them on Wednesday and we'll see how it goes.”
With Stuart Hall defeating Lick-Wilmerding 62-61, University will be the No. 2 seed next week in the BCL West tournament. University will have a third date with Urban on Wednesday at Kezar Pavilion.
University coach Randy Bessolo is expecting another grinder against Urban.
“Credit Urban because we couldn't shake them, and we had Brandon running on fumes there at the end,” Bessolo said. “We know we're going to see them again Wednesday night and we're just going to try to come back with the same effort. We expect it to be brutal next week.”