By Kyle Foster, photo courtesy of Dean Ruggiero
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
Sometimes games are closer than they should be, and some teams also just know what a team’s kryptonite is — that was the case Thursday when the Napa Valley College men’s basketball team narrowly escaped Alameda 88-85.
“Alameda does this us year in, and year out, they run so much iso basketball that kinda lols you to sleep off the ball defensively you like ‘ok cool, I just get to hang out’, and then it’s your turn to defend an iso, and you’re not in the mode of defending hard,” Napa Valley College coach Steve Ball explained of the narrow victory. “I think we held them to 14 points in the first twelve minutes, and then from there it was iso buckets, iso buckets, iso buckets, and they’ve got some guys that can score the basketball. They can out in a zone to start with, and we knew they would, and we did really well against the zone, and then they came out and played man and we they don’t really defend with tenacity either, so it’s kind of a lol, and a lol, they make it into kind of a old man mens league game you know, so we kinda fell into that, so on the offensive end we were like ‘oh this is a good shot’, but if you make one pass, two passes you’re going to get a great shot, and we kinda didn’t do that when they came out in man, and we scored very well against them, and then we’ve just got some dudes who don’t want to lose, so in the last couple minutes of the game we’ve just got duded that don’t want to lose.”
“Feels good to get the win, but just a lot of turnovers, a lot of misplays cost us, we’ve just got to do better next game on Saturday,” Napa Valley sophomore forward Joe Fons said of the tight game.
The Storm (7-7 overall, 3-0 Bay Valley Conference) held a comfortable 17-point lead early in the first half, but only led 37-32 at the break. Alameda (3-11, 1-3 BVC) held leads of 53-52, and 87-86, before Tom Salsman made a defensive play that changed the momentum of the game down the stretch.
“Who would’ve thought Tommy saving the game with a defensive stop,” Ball jokingly explained of the Salsman play that saved the game inside of a minute left. “Tommy Salsman our defensive stopper.”
Napa Valley was without two of its big men on the night. Fons, and Sasha French were in foul trouble for most of the game.
“Yeah definitely foul trouble,” Fons added on the issues with Storms foul trouble among their bigs. “Like I just said the bigs me, Sasha got in foul trouble very early, we were without James Ned, our other big was sick, we really had to use our littles, since our bigs were in foul trouble it was hard, but our littles stuck with it.”
On the night Napa Valley was led by Salsman, Amancho Adopo, and Jayden Hampton who each had 15 points apiece — Adopo had seven rebounds, and Hampton had a team high eight.
“Our benefit is that we’ve got some depth,” Ball added on the scoring. “I think we’ve had six or seven guys lead us in scoring on any given game, so that’s huge for us.”
Up next for the Storm is a trip to Pittsburg for a matchup with Los Medanos Saturday at 1 P.M., while Alameda will host Merritt-Oakland Saturday at 1 P.M.