Lick-Wilmerding High School knocked off first-place Marin Academy 40-36 in Bay Counties League West play Thursday.
After trailing 31-30 heading into the fourth quarter, Lick (12-11, 3-4) took the lead back in the fourth and blocked shots by juniors P.J. Stone and Isaiah Boone with less than a minute remaining helped keep the Tigers ahead for good.
“Those blocks showed heart by our guys,” Lick coach Eliot Smith said. “Today we found out who likes the game and who loves the game. Guys who make those plays love the game. The referees rewarded that effort out there on that call. I know [MA head coach] Mike [Coffino] thought it was a foul, but on that play you reward the effort.”
Lick’s Kishan Jay paced the Tigers with 13 points, while Stone and Ben Faustine chipped in seven points apiece.
The Wildcats (17-7, 6-2) were led by seniors Brett Cutler, who poured in 15 points, and Dashon Harris (14 points), but were missing point guard Eric Johanson, who is out for the season after shoulder surgery. Dylan Conklin, normally a small forward or shooting guard, started for the Wildcats at point guard.
“I’m not normally the point guard. To be the point, though, it’s really a mental change,” Conklin said. “We as a team need to find our fire that we had in the beginning of the season.”
The Tigers are fighting for the fourth and final BCL West playoff spot with Urban School. For the Tigers not to make the playoffs, they would have to lose their final three games and Urban would have to win all of theirs.
“I tell our team to never get too high or too low, especially now,” said Smith. “Inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard. We’ve shown what a winning team can do to a high-level team.”
In their previous meeting, the Wildcats got the best of the Tigers 62-42. According to Smith, the biggest difference was the play of Wildcat Luke Winfield, who scored 14 in their previous meeting but was held to only two points Thursday.
“Lick is a well-coached school and I’m friends with a lot of their guys,” Conklin said. “I’ve gone to school with some of them and I know how they play. We can’t have 17 turnovers and expect to win. That’s one of the problems we need to figure out. With two games left we just need to bring it from the opening tip and come to win. Today we just came out flat.”
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