Despite small stature, Lew has a knack for coming up big for University 

When the heavily recruited and uber-talented guards of Sierra Canyon look over at University High School’s Brandon Lew on Friday, they might see a slightly built, unassuming player that they could easily exploit on the court. They’ll soon find out though, like so many others who have faced the 5-foot-10 senior guard over his career, that you underestimate Brandon Lew at your own peril.

Despite his diminutive stature, Lew has posted an outstanding career at University, recently topping 1,000 points while being named first-team All-Bay Counties League West the past two seasons.

This season, Lew has elevated his game, leading University in scoring (14.6 points per game) and assists (4.0) while steering the Red Devils to a 28-7 record and the school’s first appearance in the Division V state title game in 13 years.

He has also showed a knack for uncorking his biggest games against University’s strongest opponents this season, dropping 28 and 27 points respectively against West Catholic Athletic League toughies St. Francis and Riordan and 24 points against perennial local power St. Joseph’s-Notre Dame of Alameda.

“I think teams that don’t know Brandon probably don’t give him the respect he deserves initially, just based on his size,” said University coach Randy Bessolo, whose team will play for the state title at noon on Friday at Cal’s Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. “But they find out pretty quick that he can play. He’s not a big guy, but he has a huge heart.”

Bessolo will need a vintage performance and more from Lew on Saturday, when his team faces Sierra Canyon, the Southern California champ that is ranked 20th nationally by Maxpreps.com and features one of the top-ranked sophomores in the country in post player Cody Riley. The Chatsworth-based school also boasts a backcourt made up of junior Devearl Ramsey and sophomore Remy Martin, both of whom are already drawing interest from Pac-12 Conference schools.

Yet despite Sierra Canyon’s heavy firepower and status as clear favorites, University and Lew aren’t shying away from the challenge.

“We’re here for a reason,” said Lew, who is considering playing Division III basketball at Vassar College once his University career is finished. “They’re obviously a great team, but we believe in ourselves and know we deserve to be in this game.”

For Lew, an appearance in the state title is not only the culmination of a great season, but a great career he’s shared with University’s six other seniors.

“It’s been amazing,” said Lew, who was first called up to varsity at the end of his freshman season. “You couldn’t ask for anything more than playing for the state title in your senior year. It’s just been great sharing this experience with all the guys on this team.”

After enduring nine postseason games already, many of which could have ended University’s season, Lew said he appreciates the closure he’ll be getting Friday, knowing that, no matter what, this will be the final game of his illustrious career.

“We’ve had so many practices and games this season that could have been our last,” said Lew. “It’s nice having the certainty that Friday will be it for me, win or lose. And I’d love to go out with a win.”

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Will Reisman

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Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017

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