By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times
The San Leandro High boys basketball team overcame a half-time deficit and pulled out a 79-74 win against Berkeley on Friday night.
The score was close from start to finish, as two good teams kept the crowd in suspense every minute. The lead changed hands several times, and Berkeley took a 64-63 lead in the fourth period when their top shooter Bryant Monroe sank a pair of free throws.
But then San Leandro guard Alvon Marshall replied by driving through the Yellowjackets defense and going all the way to the hoop to put the Pirates up by one.
On the next San Leandro possession, guard Elijah Jones-Haley drained a 3-pointer to give the Pirates the lead, 68-64, with 3 minutes remaining.
But Berkeley still threatened to come back when power-forward Sean Spikes made a bucket from the paint over a pair of Pirate defenders to cut the margin to 75-74.
San Leandro extended its lead to three points with 22 seconds remaining, and then put the game away when Jones-Haley made a steal and fired the ball to Kolman Kelly who nailed down the win with a slam dunk.
“That was the icing on the cake,” Jones-Haley said after the game. “He (Kelly) was wide open and he finished the game off.”
Jones-Haley led the Pirates in shooting with 24 points. Kelly scored 14, O.J. Aihie scored 12, and both Georan Williams and Austin Harris scored 9 points.
The defense made the difference, said Pirates forward Jahari Kay.
“When we play together and keep up the defensive pressure, we get steals, and that translates to buckets,” Kay said.
This week, San Leandro travels to Bishop O’Dowd on Friday night for a game at 7 o’clock.
CAPTION 1: San Leandro High forward O.J. Aihie is guarded by Berkeley forward Sean Spikes as he goes for the basket on Friday night. The Pirates pulled out a win in a close game on their home court. See SPORTS, page 6.
CAPTION 2: Pirates forward Jahari Kay takes the ball on offense in the first period on Friday night, guarded by Bryan Morris of Berkeley High.
PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES