Varsity Boys Hoops Faces Final Curtain After Tough Loss at Clayton Valley

We all knew this was going to be an uphill battle as the Dons travelled Tuesday to Clayton Valley for their second game in as many nights against juggernaut Clayton Valley- the defending NCS D2 Champions, 20-7, top 20 SF Metro Area Ugly Eagles who beat us by 20+ earlier in the year.

But there was HOPE. We played great basketball the night before in a huge win at Las Lomas. We took great teams like Serra, Campo and Ygnacio Valley to the brink this season. There was excitement in the air and this one definitely felt more like a playoff game in contrast to the less attended Monday night affair.

Both teams exchanged three’s to start the game as Brady Quinn hit Senior Liam Krackeler in the corner. Clayton would score the next 7 points before Brady hit a tough floater in the lane that rolled in. The Eagles were getting easier looks in transition and inside, jumping out to a 19-7 lead before Joe Reidenbach scored on a nice baseline drive to cut the lead to 10 going into the second.

The Dons went without a field goal for almost 6 minutes in the second as Clayton raced out to a 30-10 advantage. Brady hit Cameron Hood for a triple but we ended the quarter with just 4 points, 6 turnovers and 1/12 shooting. 30-13 at the break.

Did the Dons have any magic left? Brady hit Liam again for a three on our first possession then Maddox Malm found Brady for a corner three. But we were trading 3’s for 2’s on the other end and not gaining much ground. Liam hit Brady for a gorgeous reverse layup on an inbounds play and Maddox scored on a strong drive to his left from the top of the key. The lead was down to 14 at one point but that’s as close as it would get the rest of the way. Clayton scored on an alley-oop play to make it 42-25 going into the fourth.

The lead got up to 24 points early in the fourth and that is when benches started to empty as Coach Powers got the Seniors in to give them one last hurrah together. Liam jumped a passing lane at half court and raced the other way for the layup. Jordan Brown beat his man off the dribble to score the Dons last bucket. The final was 57-31.

The Dons shot 23% from the field, 7/24 (29%) from 2FG, 4/24 (17%) from 3FG and 5/10 (50%) from the line. Clayton was 41% from the field, 20/40 (50%) on 2FG, 4/19 on 3FG (21%) and 5/9 from the line (56%). Very similar team stats to the first meeting with Clayton as they had 19 layups to our 6, a 40-16 advantage in points in the paint, 40-30 on rebounds, and 15-2 points off turnovers.

Liam led the way with 8 points on 3/7 shooting, 2/5 from deep plus 3 defections, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. Brady had 7 points on 3/6 shooting with 2 rebounds, assists and deflections. Maddox had team highs of 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

Despite the win loss record this year, things are looking up for this Dons squad. This was a unique situation coming into this season as there was very little Varsity game experience amongst the returning players. The five graduating starters from last season played 75% of all the minutes and there were only a few returners this year that had as many as 200-250 minutes on the floor. This will be quite different next year as we return seven players with anywhere from 300-750 minutes experience each and we have four promising sophomores with two years of run left. Plus the JV team went 22-4 and undefeated in league so there is some great talent that will be added to the mix.

This team did have great chemistry on and off the floor. It started last Summer and carried all the way through to the very end. It was evident in the faces and watery eyes of the players as they eventually made their way out of the locker room one last time together. Eternal bonds and friendships have been forged. Boys are being turned into men right in front of us. DONS FOR LIFE.



Photos Courtesy: @NicoleMalm, Unassociated Press