Dons Win on Senior Night

Dons Win on Senior Night

In front of the largest and loudest crowd of the season led by the school band, Acalanes honored seniors Ian Archer, Clark King, Jackson Kirke, Ben Lauer, and Jack Wickline in their final game at Acalanes, against the defending league champion Las Lomas Knights.

After a pregame ceremony recognizing the seniors and their families, the five longtime friends and classmates took the floor to start the game for one last time.

In an evening filled with a wide range of emotions, the sophomores and juniors did everything they could to make sure that their senior teammates went out as winners.  With the five seniors starting, sophomore co-captain Scott Ruegg yielded his starting position and came off the bench for the first time this season.  Starting with a 28-footer, he proceeded to torch the Knights for 17 points in the first half including 5 3-pointers. His fellow co-captain, senior guard Ian Archer, continued his brilliant play from the huge upset earlier in the week over College Park with 14 points and five assists in the first half. Archer hit a tough shot as the first quarter ended to give the Dons a 21-19 lead.  In the second quarter, Archer hit junior forward Aidan Bodner for a layup to put the Dons up 34-32.   That started a 15-0 run, and the Dons entered the locker room at halftime flying high with a 47-32 lead.

With players returning from last year’s state championship game against Lonzo Ball’s high school including a 225-pound Division 1 football commit clearing out the paint, the NCS-bound Knights were not going down without a fight.  They got physical with the Dons in the third quarter and sought to deny Ruegg the ball and prevent him from getting a clean look at the basket. This strategy figured to open things up for Archer’s playmaking, but early in a disastrous third quarter he went to the floor hard, and was injured and out for the game.

Five minutes into the third quarter, the Dons had yet to score. After a 7-0 run, the Knights had cut the Dons’ lead to 47-39.  Dons junior center John Kalil went strongly to the basket and drew a shooting foul.  He then drained his two free throws to get the Dons on the scoreboard in the second half. Ruegg next broke free on a drive and found Bodner who laid it in, was fouled and hit his free throw, and the Dons were up 52-39.  But the Dons scored only those five points in the third quarter, and the Knights went on a 10-0 run to close it out.

The Dons entered the final stanza clinging to a 52-49 lead. After Las Lomas hit a 3, the lead was gone.  But Ruegg drove for a layup to put the Dons up 54-52. Sophomore guard Jackson Aris-Dumas hit a 3 to extend the lead to 57-52, but the Knights hit two free throws and scored again to cut the lead to a point. Ruegg then found Kirke open for a bunny to put the Dons up 3, 59-56.  After the Knights hit a pair of free throws, Bodner, who finished with 5 assists, hit sophomore forward Joey Carrillo for another bunny to make it 61-57. Las Lomas again made 2 free throws. With 33 seconds left, Carrillo brought the house down after scoring inside while being fouled. On the next play, fighting for a rebound, Wickline forced a jump ball to give the Dons possession.  However, he took a blow to the face from a Las Lomas player and began gushing blood, and the Dons lost their second senior due to injury.  Down four without the ball, Las Lomas was forced to foul and fouled Kirke.  The senior center stepped up to the charity stripe to shoot the front end of a 1-and-1 with 25 seconds left. The gym erupted after he hit the first free throw and again when he swished the second. Las Lomas still managed to make it interesting after hitting a 3 and forcing a turnover, but the Knights’ last second desperation heave was off the mark, and the Dons prevailed 65-62. 

As the Acalanes band played, students and families came onto the court to celebrate with the seniors before they left the court for the last time.

Dons Upset College Park, Look Forward to Senior Night Friday

Dons Upset College Park, Look Forward to Senior Night Friday


The Acalanes Dons pulled off the upset of the year on Wednesday night in defeating the visiting College Park Falcons 85-76. The Falcons entered the game with a record of 20-4 overall and 8-2 in league and are led by Zyon Pullin, the likely MVP of the Diablo Athletic League.
The first half was competitive, with the Falcons up 32-30 at intermission. The Dons then exploded for 56 points in the second half to shock the Falcons. Sophomore guard Jackson Aris-Dumas scored 10 points in the third quarter and led the Dons with 20 points. Senior guard Ian Archer scored 9 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Junior forward Aidan Bodner scored all of his 15 points in the second half, including a traditional 3 point play where he was fouled making a layup in the fourth quarter. The other dagger in the fourth quarter came from sophomore guard Scott Ruegg, who drained a 3-pointer to bring the house down. Many of Bodner’s points came on strong finishes after Aris-Dumas, Archer, Ruegg and fellow guard senior Jack Wickline had broken down College Park’s full court pressure. Senior center Jackson Kirke was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line in the 4th quarter and for the game had 13 rebounds and four blocked shots (including one of Pullin’s shots). 
The 85 points were the most scored by the Dons this year. The Dons’ balanced scoring attack featured 5 players in double figures: Aris-Dumas (20), Archer and Bodner (15), Ruegg (13), and Kirke (10). Playing unselfish basketball, the team had 29 assists, including 12 from Archer.
The Dons host Las Lomas for Senior Night on Friday, with the festivities starting at approximately 6:15. Seniors Jack Wickline, Ian Archer, Jackson Kirke, Clark King, and Ben Lauer will be honored.

Dons’ Hoopsters Rally but Fall to Las Lomas

On January 22, the Dons traveled to Las Lomas to take on the Knights. The Dons started off slowly. Two 3-pointers from sophomore guard Jackson Aris-Dumas kept the Dons close as the first quarter ended with the Knights up 9-6. The offensive woes continued in the second quarter with only two 3-pointers from sophomore guard Scott Ruegg and one from senior guard Ian Archer. In the first half, the Dons did not score any points in the paint and or shoot any free throws and trailed 25-15 at halftime.

Ruegg led the Dons back in the third quarter with 9 points and a 3 from Aris-Dumas knotted the game at 33-33 after the third quarter. The Knights put up 19 points in the 4th quarter to come out on top 52-45. Ruegg and Aris-Dumas combined for 32 points and went 8-8 from the free throw line, and Archer had 10 rebounds.

The Dons host first place Campolindo on Thursday and Miramonte on Friday. Both games tip off at 7.

Dons Fall to San Lorenzo

Dons Fall to San Lorenzo

On January 5, the Dons traveled to San Lorenzo High for their last non-league matchup.  Sophomore guard Scott Ruegg scored 10 points to help get the Dons an early lead, as the first quarter ended with the Dons up 16-11.  The teams played evenly in the second quarter, and the Dons held a 28-23 lead at intermission.  San Lorenzo came back in the third quarter to capture a 43-42 lead heading into the final stanza.  Despite another 12 points from Ruegg in the fourth quarter, the Dons came up short, losing 64-60.  Ruegg led the Dons with 27 points, while senior guard Ian Archer scored 11.

The  Dons travel to Miramonte on Tuesday, January 8, to start league play.  The varsity game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 p.m.

Photo: P. Wickline

Dons Fall to Tam on Last Second Shot

On December 29, the Dons faced Tamalpais for the championship in the Chris Huber Classic. Led by 8 points from senior guard Ian Archer, the Dons jumped out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter. Although the Dons extended their lead to double digits, Tam captured some momentum heading into halftime with effective full court pressure and cut the Dons’ lead to 32-27 at halftime.
After the intermission, Tam picked up where it left off and dominated the third quarter. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Dons trailed 46-40. Senior guard Jack Wickline then led the Dons’ fourth-quarter comeback. Drawing fouls by aggressively attacking the hoop, Wickline made Tam pay by going 5-5 from the charity stripe. After Wickline converted a 3-point play with a free throw, the game was tied at 52 in the fourth quarter. Tam kept pressing though and was up a point on what figured to be the Dons’ final possession. Archer made a beautiful pass to sophomore guard Jackson Aris-Dumas who made an equally impressive finish in traffic to put the Dons up 62-61 with 8 seconds left. Unfortunately, Tam responded to convert a driving layup in the last second to win the championship.
Archer, who was named to the all-tourney team, led the Dons with 19 points, junior center John Kalil capped off a strong tourney with 13 points, and sophomore guard Scott Ruegg had 10.
The Dons conclude non-league play on Saturday, January 5, at San Lorenzo High at 4 p.m. League play starts on January 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Miramonte High.

Dons Advance to Championship Game of Chris Huber Classic

On Friday, December 28, the Dons faced DeAnza in the second round of the Chris Huber Classic. The game was a rematch of their game earlier in the month, when DeAnza beat the Dons by 7 at the Amador Valley Tournament.  Seeking to avenge that defeat, the Dons jumped out to a an early lead with two 3-pointers from senior guard Ian Archer, 7 points from sophomore guard Scott Ruegg and another 6 from sophomore forward Joey Carrillo. The first quarter ended with the Dons up 22-16.
The Dons’ offense stagnated, as they scored fewer points in the next two quarters combined than they had scored in the first quarter. Still, the Dons led 39-34 when the buzzer to end the third quarter sounded. However, the officials put two seconds back on the clock, and DeAnza then converted a 4-point play to cut the Dons’ lead to 39-38 and captured momentum heading into the final stanza.
Led by Archer who scored 9 points in the fourth quarter, the Dons responded with poise to the disastrous end of the third quarter. Junior center John Kalil and Archer each hit two free throws and Archer hit another 3. DeAnza kept pace though and the Dons were up 46-44 when Kalil hit another free throw. Archer then hit yet another 3 to put the Dons up 50-46. After DeAnza answered, Ruegg’s layup made it 52-48. Junior forward Aidan Bodner made a free throw but then DeAnza hit a 3 to cut the lead. Bodner then converted two free throws to put the game out of reach. The Dons won 57-51, and Ruegg led the Dons with 18 points, Archer had 15 and Carrillo had 12.  The Dons next face Tamalpais in the championship Saturday at 5:30 at Acalanes. 

Dons Post Highest Point Total of Season, Blow Out Concord

On Thursday, December 27, the Acalanes Dons hosted the Concord Minutemen in the opening round of the Chris Huber Classic, named after longtime coach and teacher Chris Huber.  The Minutemen came into the contest with a 4-2 record. The first quarter was evenly matched, as it ended with the Dons up 19-18 behind 9 points from senior guard Ian Archer.   Sophomore guard Scott Ruegg took the game over in the second quarter with 15 points while Archer and senior swingman Clark King each had 5 points, and the Dons lead 48-34 at halftime.  The Dons continued to run their offense effectively and coasted to an 80-60 victory.  Ruegg led all scorers with 27, Archer had 20, and sophomore forward Joey Carrillo had 10.  The 80 points posted by the Dons were a season high; they previously had not scored more than 63.

The Dons next face DeAnza on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Acalanes in the second round of the Chris Huber Classic.  In addition to recognizing Coach Huber, the tournament is a major fundraiser for the team so come out to support the Dons!

After Battling San Leandro, Dons Hosting Chris Huber Classic

After Battling San Leandro, Dons Hosting Chris Huber Classic

On Saturday, December 22, the Dons faced off against the San Leandro Pirates for third place in the annual El Cerrito Tournament. The Pirates posed a tough test for the Dons. Two nights earlier, they had defeated Campolindo and earlier this season had taken down College Park. The Pirates are led by 6’7″ Keshad Johnson, who had 18 Division I scholarship offers before committing to San Diego State.

The Pirates jumped on the Dons and raced to a 13-4 lead after the first quarter. The Pirates, led by a couple of dunks by Johnson, expanded their lead and were up 30-15 at half.

The Dons came out for the second half and played arguably their best basketball of the season.  The Dons cut into the Pirates’ lead to start the third quarter but still found themselves down 40-29.  Sophomore guard Scott Ruegg then hit a 3 to cut the lead to single digits at 40-32. Senior guard Ian Archer (pictured above) added a free throw to close out the third quarter with the Dons down 40-33. San Leandro scored first to start the fourth quarter but sophomore forward Joey Carrillo answered to keep the Dons within 7 points. Junior forward Aidan Bodner finished a layup to cut the lead to 5. Archer converted two free throws to make it a single possession game. Ruegg then hit another 3 and the game was tied up at 42, with the Dons having come back from a 15-point halftime deficit. The talented Pirates regrouped and outscored the Dons 6-1 down the stretch to win 48-43. The Dons held San Leandro to 18 points in the second half and kept Johnson in check thanks to adjustments made by Dons Coach Sol Henik and a strong effort from his players. Ruegg led the Dons with 18 points and Archer had 14.

Archer was named to the all-tourney team. The Dons next host the Chris Huber Classic with three games starting on December 27. The tourney is a tribute to longtime Dons coach and teacher Chris Huber.  In addition to honoring Coach Huber, the tourney also is a major fundraiser for the Dons so please come to support the program!  The Dons tip off against Concord at Acalanes on Thursday, December 27, at 7:00 p.m.

Varsity Dons Win Opener in El Cerrito Tourney

The Dons traveled to El Cerrito on Thursday for the start of a three-day tourney featuring high quality competition.  The Dons opened against the host El Cerrito.  Playing on its home floor, El Cerrito jumped out to an early 12-2 lead. The Dons fought back to close the lead to 14-11 after sophomore guard Scott Ruegg hit a 3 but then El Cerrito regained control.  The Dons trailed 31-21 at halftime and went down 12 right away to start the 3rd quarter, but the Dons again came back with a 12-0 run fueled by Ruegg finishing in transition to tie the score at 33.  El Cerrito went back up again and the Dons were down 48-43 entering the fourth quarter. The Dons clawed back once more to tie the game at 52.  Junior forward Aidan Bodner then hit two free throws and a 3 to put the Dons up 57-52. Another 3, this one by senior guard Ian Archer gave the Dons a 60-54 lead, and the Dons prevailed 62-57.  This was a great comeback win for the Dons, coming back from multiple double-digit deficits.  Ruegg led the Dons with 22 points, Archer had 14 and Bodner 12 to lead the Dons.

Frosh Boys Basketball Alameda Tournament Results

The Freshman boys basketball team lost their first game of the tournament to the Alameda High School team 54-31.  They rebounded the next day with a resounding 63-33 win against St. Mary’s.  In the 3rd and final game, the Don’s played Bishop O’Dowd for 5th place.  After keeping it very close through the first two quarters, the offense slowed down and they ended up losing 34-46.