The shot clock was off. His team was down by one. And he had recently had his shot blocked twice. But Wilcox Chargers’ point guard Brendon Yi blocked out all those distractions. Yi drove the lane, pulled up for a short jumper and got the shooter’s roll, a game-winning shot with just 10 seconds left.
“Right when I get the ball, last possession I know I’m going to take the shot,” remarked a confident sounding Yi, before admitting, “of course it’s nerve racking with the big crowd and everything. I thought it was a little short, but when it went in I was so relieved.”
Wilcox Head Coach Robert Toloy has all the confidence in the world in Yi, even with the game on the line.
“He’s a player, there is no doubt about that,” said the Chargers’ coach, “But just before that he had his shot blocked twice, but he still came back and took the same shot and scored. Those are things we can expect from Brendon.”
Through the first two quarters it looked as if Wilcox wouldn’t need any late-game heroics. The Chargers led by at least five points for most of the first half and went into halftime up by eight at 27-19. Wilcox used a high-tempo style and full-court press to stymie the Bruins in the first half.
In the second half, Santa Clara settled in and made the necessary adjustments to get back in the game. Led by Jack Fukuda, Shinya Sargent and Nathan Burns, the Bruins came all the way back from down eight to up five at one point in the fourth quarter.
“We stepped up on defense and kept digging in. We wanted to fight and wanted the ball more than them at the point,” chimed Sargent on the second-half comeback. “We adjusted to their press.”
“We made our adjustments on our press break, we understood where the traps were coming from and how we were going to attack and approach it,” remarked Bruins Assistant Coach Justin Dixon. “[Head] Coach [Tony] McGilvery diagrammed some more press breaks for us at halftime and we made our adjustments.”
In the final minute of action both teams came up with big defensive plays. Yi came up with a steal just a few seconds after Burns had blocked his shot. The final 40-plus seconds of action had fans not just on the edge of their seats, but completely out of their seats standing up.
Santa Clara would call timeout with 1.6 seconds left with a chance to win, but a final desperation shot would fall short.
With the loss the Bruins fall to 6-8 overall and 0-2 in league. The Chargers improve to just 7-6 overall, but are now 3-0 in league. Santa Clara next takes on Saratoga on Jan. 11, while the Chargers host Monta Vista that same night.