BERKELEY, Calif. —
There was little that made sense in Deer Valley (Antioch, Calif.)
High School's 55-54 win over Newark Memorial (Newark, Calif.)
in the final game of the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic Monday at Haas Pavilion on the campus of Cal.
Right down to the game-winning hoop.
It wasn't made by one of Deer Valley's two mainstays — Kentucky-bound 6-foot-10 post
(20 points, 17 rebounds, five blocks) or 24-point-a-game point guard Kendall Smith
(12 points, four assists), who fouled out a couple minutes earlier.
Instead it was from little used Wahied Emran
, who picked up a loose ball following an errant pass, took a couple dribbles and calmly sank a 5-footer in the middle of the lane with 2.5 seconds left. It was Emran's only bucket off the night and he finished with three points, just down from his 3.8 average.
Newark Memorial, which was down almost the entire game, didn't have a timeout left and wasn't able to even get a desperation shot up.
This one, pitting two Bay Area top 20 teams, had a little bit of desperation painted on it all night. Especially on Newark Memorial's side after the Wolverines (15-4), coming off a tough 97-92 loss to Sheldon on Saturday, went on a 17-0 run in the first quarter to take a 19-6 lead.
Somehow, despite struggling throughout, Newark Memorial clawed back in with some tenacious defense, a trademark of every Craig Ashmore team, and occasional fastbreak offense.
Deer Valley didn't help itself with an absolutely woeful night from the foul line (10 of 28), including 5-for-15 in the fourth quarter.
That helped Jo Jo Zamora
(20 points) and the Cougars get back in. They took their first lead since the first quarter 45-43 on a layup by 6-9 Mathew Thomas (12 points).
Lee came alive in the fourth quarter, especially late after Smith fouled out on a controversial call.
Lee sent down a dominant dunk while being fouled and completed a three-point play, giving Deer Valley a 48-46 lead.
That's when Zamora went to work. He made three straight baskets, twice flying in from the right side, giving Newark Memorial at 52-48 lead.
A Deer Valley free throws and two straight baskets by Lee put Deer Valley up 53-52, before Zamora sank two foul shots with 11.5 seconds left.
Deer Valley called timeout and set up a play for Lee down low, but an entry pass slammed off the backboard.
Emran, a 5-11 senior, dug the ball out, calmly drilled the game winner. His teammates stormed the court — some Deer Valley faithful from the stands as well — and swarmed Emran who kept flailing his fists.
It was a nice moment for him and the Wolverines (15-4), who were already coming off a disappointing 97-92 loss to preseason nationally-ranked Sheldon-Sacramento.
A second straight loss, especially after being in control so long, might have sent Deer Valley reeling.
Instead Emran saved the day.