By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
It was a heavyweight matchup Thursday night when the Napa Valley College men’s basketball team suffered a tough 99-89 loss to Yuba-Marysville.
“Well we went up ten, and then they went to their press, and we just we weren’t aggressive against it, we were throwing passes off our back foot, we were catching the ball of balance, we weren’t attacking the ball, we were hoping the ball would get to us,” Ball said of where the game stated to get away from them. “We didn’t handle the press the way I know that we can, and they’re a very solid team, I mean they’re a very good team, they’ve only got one loss in conference also and it was to a team that made a bunch of threes, I think they (Contra Costa) made 16 threes to beat them, so at that point at about the eight minute mark they came out and started pressing, we didn’t respond the way I had hoped we would respond.”
With 8:12 left in the first half the Storm (9-8 overall, 5-1 Bay Valley Conference) were facing a 15-point deficit, before Amancho Adopo three-pointer with 7:42 left got Napa Valley started on a 29-12 run that was capped off by a Joe Fons buzzer beating three-pointer to make it 40-38 at the break.
NVC was down 78-75 with three second left, Armani Mills made the first of his two free throws to make it 78-76, he intentionally missed the second, and Sasha French forced a jump ball on the rebound. With 0.9 seconds left French made the game tying layup to force overtime.
In the second half Napa Valley had their guards in foul trouble, which ended up hurting them according to ball.
“We ran out of guards,” he said. “Jayden fouled out first, and then Fekou (Adopo) fouled out, and then Akeem fouled out, and we just don’t have that much depth at that position right now, Malcolm (Bracy) came in and did an admirable job, but we just had too many guys fouling out and a couple of them were on just silly things that we did that are like time and score dictates the fact that if you’ve got three fouls it’s not worth the risk of you having to sit down trying to get that poke away, just play sound defense.”
Akeem Dear led the Storm on the night with 25 points, and five rebounds — Armani Mills added 20 points, and six rebounds. Sasha French also had 14 points, while bringing in ten rebounds.
Jayden Hampton added eight points, and a rebound off the bench. He was a good spark for NVC when they were down in the first half.
“He’s been doing that a lot lately,” Ball added on Hampton’s effort. “He got a little frustrated too, I think we all did, I felt like we were getting bumped, but I think we need to step up, and be grown men about it, and not ask the referees to bail us out, we’ve got to do our own work, but Jayden did a great job coming off the bench, and he’s been doing it all season.”
The loss, although a tough one makes for a three way tie atop the Bay Valley Conference standings. Contra Costa-San Pablo, Yuba, and Napa are all 5-1.
The Storm will play at Contra Costa Saturday at 1 P.M. in yet another crucial game.