It wasn’t until well into the evening the Sacramento basketball brand could finally stand, dust itself off, and, in effect proclaim, “Enough! We’re still here.”
Bay Area programs from the North Coast Section won the five early games Saturday against regional programs in the 12th Father Kelly Tribute before Bee-ranked No. 2 Jesuit High School salvaged the show.
Sharing the ball, hitting outside shots, attacking the rim, defending a quick and explosive team and icing the game from the line, the host Marauders beat longtime state power Salesian of Richmond 65-57 in the capper in offering a glimpse of how good area basketball can be.
It was the most significant win of the day for area teams eager to test themselves against the Bay, and it was the most telling victory of the young season for Jesuit. The Marauders (14-0) hadn’t always competed to the full approval of veteran coach Greg Harcos, a Marauders alum who has challenged his team to up its game to a championship level.
“The key is putting it all together,” Harcos said. “We can be really good in spurts and then we have bad lapses. They don’t know what’s in store coming up (in more nonleague showdowns and Delta River League play). But we can be pretty good.”
Jesuit is at its best when it is balanced and plays smart. Forward Lake Lutes scored 23 points, hitting from inside and out, and guard Isaiah Bailey scored 20, finding success from long range or with baseline moves. Forward Brady Anderson had 11, and steady guard Nick Hilton had eight. Bernard Ward had 20 for Salesian (9-4), which earlier this season lost to Bee No. 1 Capital Christian 66-60.
The challenges continue for Jesuit, which won 12 games last season and missed the playoffs. It plays No. 9 Woodcreek and rival Christian Brothers this week before league play that features ranked teams in Folsom, Sheldon and Pleasant Grove.
Monte Vista 65, Granite Bay 47 – Trevor John scored 19 points and 6-foot-9 post Spencer Rust had 17 points and 15 rebounds to power the NorCal-ranked No. 2 Mustangs (11-0) of Danville past the Grizzlies (8-7).
Darren Nelson, a 6-6 freshman post, had 15 points for Bee No. 15 Granite Bay, which lost 49-44 to Jesuit on Friday.
El Cerrito 78, Pleasant Grove 57 – The NorCal No. 4 Gauchos pulled away in the fourth quarter to improve to a school-record best 14-0 in beating the defending CIF State Division I champions. Sayeed Pridgett scored 17 and Tyrell Alcorn and Anthony Sullen 16 each for El Cerrito, which scored the bulk of its points on transition plays.
Marquese Chriss led Pleasant Grove with 17 points, though the 6-foot-9 junior post had just two field goals. El Cerrito would not allow him to shoot inside and hammered him instead. He made 13 of 15 free throws. T.J. Lindsey had 14 for Pleasant Grove (6-7), ranked 16th by The Bee.
Saint Mary’s 58, Franklin 50 – Jerrod Nodar scored 14 points and Kevin Warren scored all of his 12 in the second half for the Panthers of Albany. Aren Ulmer scored 13 for Saint Mary’s (12-2). Christian Allen had 13 and Austin Payne 12 for The Bee’s No. 17 Wildcats, who play at Granite Bay and Pleasant Grove this week.
San Leandro 40, Foothill 38 – Foothill had three chances to tie or win it in the final minute as the Pirates kept missing the front end of 1-and-1 free throws, but turnovers doomed any chance of any late dramatics. Michael Potts scored 11 points for Foothill (6-9), which had just 12 second-half points. The Mustangs were coming off a 59-42 victory over Bee No. 10 Del Campo.
Newark Memorial 60, Antelope 46 – Matthew Thomas, a 6-8 forward, scored 23 points with 14 rebounds, and Michael Pinckney had 15 for the Cougars, a longtime Bay Area power from Newark. Mister Harriel scored 15 for Antelope (8-6), ranked 18th by The Bee.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.