10 Jan Richmond High Varsity Boys Basketball Endures Sixth Loss in Seven Games
Story and photos by Joseph Porrello
The Richmond High Oilers were mauled by the Albany High Cougars on Friday at home, losing 93-45 and falling to 3-13 overall on the season.
The Oilers failed to score over 50 points for the ninth game this season and surrendered over 90 points to their opponent for the sixth time. Also for the sixth time, the Oilers had their score more than doubled by their opponent and suffered a defeat of over 40 points.
“I told my kids after the game that I love them, and that we’re going to fight through this tough stretch together,” said Oilers head coach Ricky Jefferson.
Pouncing on the Oilers for a 30-point halftime advantage, the Cougars’ efficiency early on would be a sign of what was to come throughout the game.
Albany continuously drove the ball into the paint in transition, rarely letting Richmond set up its half-court defense.
“They’re standing around and playing with the crowd on defense,” said Jefferson. “We do drills specifically to combat that issue.”
The Oilers offense similarly failed to get set most of the game due to constant defensive on-ball pressuring from the Cougars.
“We play a more individual, streetball-type style, but we need to play more cohesively as a family and move the ball around more,” said Jefferson.
Richmond got off to a better start to begin the second half, but two long stoppages due to clock malfunctions in the third quarter completely disrupted the flow of the game. Ironically, Friday night’s game was played in the newly renovated girls’ gym because the scoreboard in the boys’ gym was being repaired, yet clock issues still arose.
Visibly upset with the referees at the end of the third quarter, Jefferson was waving his arms and shaking his head incessantly. At the start of the fourth quarter, the referees called a technical foul on the Oilers head coach.
“I’ve refereed too, so I’m respectful,” said Jefferson. “I was just telling them that it was a good call, but it came way too late.”
With over five minutes still left to play in the game, one of the referees instructed the scoreboard operator to let the clock continuously run, preventing the outcome from getting any more out of hand.
“I wish we would have played a little harder, but it all comes with time and practice,” said Oilers junior guard Jonte Easton.
Pacing the Oilers in the scoring column for both the season and the game, Easton netted 15 points Friday night.
“We could have played a lot better on offense and defense,” added Oilers sophomore guard, Monty George.
Chipping in 10 points on offense, George joined Easton as the only other Oilers player to score in double figures.
“Monty is only a sophomore, but he’s one of our leaders. He pushes his teammates and even calms me down,” said Jefferson.
A sophomore also leads the Cougars, who had four players score in double figures and two surpass 20 points. Second-year guard Bruno Der heads Albany High in scoring average on the season and led this game with 25 points. Cougars senior guard Beau Jones was not far behind, amassing 20 points of his own.
The Albany High players as a whole were noticeably taller than those on the Oilers, a common theme for Richmond High this season.
“I was told by multiple people that our lack of height would be a problem for us before I even met the team, but if we used our speed effectively, we’d live at the freethrow line,” said Jefferson.
Seven players (over half the team) on the Cougars are over 6 foot 2.
“We have a lot of heart, but people see we’re small, and they underestimate us, so our height is both an advantage and a disadvantage,” said Easton. “Most of our team are sophomores, though, so we’ll definitely get bigger.”
Now holding a record of 0-4 in league play and sitting at the bottom of the Tri-County-Stone standings, the Oilers have their work cut out for them over the last third of their schedule.
“We’re good enough to beat all of these teams. We just need to practice more together,” said Easton. “We constantly have different players and coaches, which shows. Most of the guys on Albany are seniors and have been playing together in that system for years.”
Over their last four head-to-head games, Albany has defeated the Oilers by over 40 points three times.
The Cougars’ third consecutive win moves them into second place of the Tri-County-Stone standings with a record of 3-1 in league contests.
The Oilers have only 11 games left before their schedule ends, and they would have to run the table with victories in those remaining matchups to finish with a winning record.
Ranked No. 253 out of 277 teams in the California Division 3, No. 138 of 156 teams in the North Coast Section, and last out of 22 teams in the North Coast Section Division 3, the Oilers have lots of room for improvement.
“Our morale is great and our goal is still to make the playoffs,” said Jefferson. “But, half of the team is on the honor roll, so they’re winning the more important game of life.”
Richmond High will take on the Kennedy High Eagles Tuesday night at home, looking to shift momentum with a win against their cross-city rivals.
“They’re just like us; they don’t have much structure, but they’ll be out there shooting lots of threes and diving all over the place for loose balls,” said Easton. “I think it’s going to be a really good game.”
The Oilers took down the Eagles in a closely contested game during their last matchup a season ago, but Kennedy High now has an overall record of 8-7 and have been playing well.
“We’re going to have fun and be respectful when [the Eagles] come in here, we’re not out there to be fighting,” said Jefferson.
Jefferson said the scoreboard in the boys’ gym would be fixed by Tuesday’s game so that they could accommodate the larger than average crowd expected. The girls’ gym that the Oilers played in has less than half the seating space available.
The Eagles will visit Richmond High for a second time when the teams meet for the regular season finale Feb. 3.