Frank Hall has Mission running for another city title 

click to enlarge Junior guard Frank Hall (20) believes Mission High has one of the best chances to capture the Academic Athletic Association title. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Junior guard Frank Hall (20) believes Mission High has one of the best chances to capture the Academic Athletic Association title.
It’s a common perception that when the postseason arrives, the most successful basketball teams are the ones that can win while grinding out snail-paced, defensive-minded games.

Mission High School’s Frank Hall — the speediest player on a boys’ basketball team full of speedsters — isn’t buying that concept.

“We’re not going to let anyone slow us down,” said Hall, a 5-foot-8 junior guard. “We’re going to run and run, because we know if we play our game, not many teams can keep up with us.”

With Mission averaging a blistering 75 points a game en route to a 21-6 season, there is little reason to doubt Hall’s philosophy. An absolute blur of a player, Hall is leading the team in scoring for the second straight season (at 18.2 points a game) and has his team tied with Washington atop the Academic Athletic Association Division 1 standings with a 12-1 record. The Bears will wrap up their regular season Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. against Lincoln, the defending AAA champ that is 10-3 in league play.

On a team that features just two seniors, Hall’s hard work and dogged persistence on the court has set the standard for his teammates, according to Mission coach Arnold Zelaya.

“He just never stops moving when he’s on the court,” Zelaya said. “He’s not a very vocal player, but he leads by example. His energy level really rubs off on the other guys.”

Hall receives plenty of pointers from his sister, Franeka, who played for the June Jordan boys’ team in high school and is currently competing for Cal State Los Angeles.

“We watch so much basketball together,” said Frank Hall, who also averages 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game. “My sister and my dad are always encouraging me to never stop, to always keep moving, to try and keep getting better. My sister is playing college ball, and she’s really pushing me to follow in her footsteps.

That encouragement has sparked Hall to improve his game, notably by working on his defense, getting to the basket more and becoming more dependent on his left hand.

“Every time I’m out there, the other team is always yelling to force me left,” Hall said. “I’m trying to get them to stop saying that.”

Although he’s dedicated to improving his craft, Hall’s production this season has been a boon for the Bears, who seemed poised to make a postseason run after getting knocked off in the semifinals of the San Francisco Section playoffs last year.

That disappointment marked a departure from the school’s stellar run in recent years. The Bears have won four of the past seven city titles and along with Washington, they are favored to take home the postseason championship again this season. If they advance to the title game, they’ll automatically qualify for the NorCal Division III playoffs, where they hope to earn some respect and pick up some victories.

“I’ve been looking forward to this team for a while, just because everyone has such tremendous basketball IQs,” Zelaya said. “We think we have the pieces in place to make a nice run. Ultimately, we want to prove that we can compete and win outside of San Francisco.”

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Will Reisman

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