Hornets Basketball Downs Jets

Henry Chao &nbsp&nbsp Alameda Junior Jason Cibull aggressively drives into the paint in the Hornets’ victory over the Encinal Jets last Saturday.

Hornets Basketball Downs Jets

Alameda High men outfly Jets, 51-48, Lady Hornets buzz Lady Jets, 53-43

The Alameda High School (AHS) men’s basketball team scored six points in the final 19 seconds to defeat crosstown rival Encinal High School, 51-48, Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Hornets’ Nest.

After two free throws by the Jets pushed their lead to 48-45, Hornet guard Elijah Caliz pushed the ball down the court and made a layup to cut the deficit to 48-47 with 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. A five-second inbound violation by the Jets gave the ball right back to the Hornets underneath their own basket. Senior DeJon Marks passed the ball inbound to center Josh Niusulu a few feet from the basket. He then scored the go-ahead bucket over the outstretched EHS defender. The basket brought the raucous Hornets’ home crowd to its feet.

The Hornets led 49-48 with 15 seconds remaining. On the next possession the Jets moved the ball into the frontcourt, but threw the ball out of bounds giving AHS the ball back with five seconds remaining. Alameda guard Jason Cibull was fouled and sank two free throws to close out the contest, 51-48. 

The Hornets outscored the Jets in the final period, 18-12. Half of the 18 came from Niusulu. The senior made 5-of-6 free throws in the final period and 2-of-3 from the field including the go-ahead bucket. 

The third quarter belonged to the Jets. After trailing 23-19 at halftime, the Jets outscored the Hornets, 17-10, in the third. The Jets trailed, 29-21 — the largest deficit in the game by either team — with 5:09 remaining in the third period after AHS senior forward Bowan Roach converted a put back layup. From there the Jets went on a 9-0 run to take a 30-21 lead with 2:44 left in the third quarter.  It was the Jets first lead since it was 17-15 midway through the second period. The Jets led, 36-33, at the end of the third quarter.

Both teams started the rivalry game slow. The two teams combined for six turnovers — four for EHS — in the first 10 possessions. Both team defenses used full court zones to speed up the opposing team for most of the game. EHS was in a 2-2-1 full court zone, while AHS used a 1-2-2 full court zone. Once both teams reached half court, both teams reverted back into their man-to-man defenses. However, both teams used zone defenses on under-the-basket, out-of-bounds plays. 

Niusulu led the Hornets with 17 points. He scored just two points in the first half, but scored 15 in the second — six points in the third, nine in the fourth. Cibull was second on the team with 13 points. The junior made three 3-pointers in the contest.

The victory brings the Hornets record to 8-10 overall and 3-0 in the West Alameda County Conference Shoreline League. The Jets’ record drops to 10-9 overall and 1-2 in the Shoreline League. Both teams will play their next games tomorrow. EHS will face Tennyson High of Hayward, while AHS will face San Lorenzo High.