The big guy says nothing.
His expressions are blank, stoic, but wow, Solomon Young’s game sure screams of impact and ability, and now there’s extended life to a season that seemed nearly lost.
Solomon Young willed his Sacramento Dragons back into Friday night’s Northern California Open Division Regional playoff game in Oak Park, leading a rally from 14 down with just over six minutes to play in regulation.
Young is Sacramento’s powerfully built 6-foot-7 senior forward who plays angry and fierce but is otherwise deemed “our gentle giant” by coach Derek Swafford.
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His overall game was paramount in an 86-77 overtime victory over Folsom in a meeting of teams atop The Bee’s rankings all season, a contest seemingly in the making for years between two of the region’s preeminent programs.
Young had 22 points and 13 rebounds, scoring on jumpers and dunks and defending with purpose. His calm approach and an overtime burst by guards Sayvon Hines, Josh Gonzalez, Jermaine Henderson and Andrew Williams – and 13 early points by Christian Terrell – countered Jordan Ford of Folsom.
The senior guard dazzled with 34 points, but he and his Bulldogs mates tired in the fourth quarter in an oddly officiated game where players battered each other but traveling and carrying calls were frequent.
“He’s a gamer, a stud,” Swafford said of Ford, The Bee’s two-time Player of the Year.
As for Young, Swafford said: “There’s no one better in Northern California. I don’t think anyone can guard him. We’re dominant when he is.”
Sacramento (30-1) and Folsom (27-5) battled like heavyweights, exchanging haymakers in an overflow setting at the historic Dave Hotell Pavilion. It brought back memories of when the place would fill up to see Kevin Johnson, now the mayor of Sacramento, work wonders in 1983 as the state’s leading scorer. Johnson’s retired No. 11 jersey hangs on the wall.
There’s no one better in Northern California. I don’t think anyone can guard him. We’re dominant when he is.
Sacramento High boys coach Derek Swafford on Dragons forward Solomon Young
The difference now? Area teams in Johnson’s era fared poorly in the NorCal playoffs and often failed to make it that far.
For all the star power in this one – particularly Ford, Terrell and Young – it was the gritty efforts of unsung players such as Gonzalez that helped seal perhaps the biggest win in program history.
Gonzalez is a fourth-year varsity player, a glue guy, who scored his seven points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“We don’t win without him, and he’s that guy who does the dirty work, handles the ball, shoots, defends,” Swafford said.
Hines dazzled with the long ball, hitting eight and finishing with 25 points. His threes helped keep the Dragons in it, while Young did his work inside.
Jared Wall had 21 points for Folsom and Tre Finch, a former Dragon, had 13. There was a lot of sportsmanship before the game as players from both sides met for a moment, and it got chippy late, but sportsmanship ensued when it was over.
8 Three-pointers by Sacramento’s Sayvon Hines
This closes out remarkable careers for Ford, Wall, Finch and Alec Andrews while the fun continues for Sacramento. The No. 4-seeded Dragons visit No. 1 De La Salle of Concord on Tuesday with a shot to knock off a longtime powerhouse.
“We can beat anyone, but we have to play better,” Swafford said. “We’ll be fine.”