, the nation's No. 25 recruit
, was held scoreless in the first quarter.
That trend drastically changed as the 6-foot-6 Cal-bound shooting guard scored 22 the rest of the way leading Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
to a 69-60 win over Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.)
at Albany High Saturday night in a possible preview of a state Open Division playoff game next month.
After a scoreless first quarter, Bird had 14 points in the middle two quarters to give the Pride (21-3) a commanding 53-44 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Bird scored seven of his game-high total in the final 3:24 after Sheldon cut a 12-point double-digit deficit to 55-53. Markel Leonard
had 14 points and Montana-bound Mario Dunn
11 points for Salesian. Dakarai Allen
led Sheldon (18-5) with 16 points, and Darin Johnson
This was the second straight year Salesian handed Sheldon a defeat. Last year, the Pride went on the road to win in Sacramento 63-61.
Salesian has won 11 straight since losing a nationally televised game in West Virginia to national power Gonzaga (Washington D.C.) 65-59.
Salesian never trailed, and led by as many as 12 points on two occasions.
Bird actually had to leave the game for a couple of minutes late in the third quarter after suffering a cut below his left eye. But the senior wing returned in the opening minute of the fourth, then saved his best for last. Bird finished with nine rebounds and four dunks.
Both teams were ranked nationally to start the season and entered the week among the best in the state.
Salesian was No. 1 in the Northern California rankings
and Sheldon No. 3.Correspondent Emanuel Lee contributed to this report