The Mercury News
Oakland Tech boys, girls earn section titles
OAKLAND >> Oakland Tech added more championship hardware to its trophy case, with its boys and girls basketball teams capturing section championships.
The boys needed every second Saturday night to hold off Oakland 53-50 before a packed house at Fremont High.
The girls began the doubleheader by flattening AIMS College Prep 92-31 in a game they led 73-8 at halftime.
There was no shortage of physical contact in the third matchup this season between the Tech and Oakland. Good thing Tech had Omar Staples Jr., who is bound for Stanford to play football in the fall.
He is used to playing through contact. So taking the basketball to the hoop while an Oakland player wrapped an arm around Staples' neck? No problem for the 6-foot-4, 230-pound football pass rusher.
With 50 seconds to play and Tech clinging to a threepoint lead, Staples rammed through the baseline defender and finished the layup to make it a two-possession game.
Still, Oakland had a chance to force overtime, down three with five seconds on the clock. The game ended in the most fitting way, with the ball loose on the floor and both teams diving after it.
“I know my team is tough, and we come together and get dubs,” Staples said. “I know our next game is win or die. Move on and advance.”
Yes, it will be win or go home when the NorCal regionals begin Tuesday.
For Oakland, the outcome Saturday was yet another bitter one-possession loss to its rival. Tech won the first matchup between the teams at home 81-79. Then Tech's Ahmaree Muhammad sank the winner at Oakland to seal a 61-59 victory on Feb. 8.
Oakland coach Orlando Watkins saw a common theme in all three losses.
“They're physically tougher than us, and that's it,” Watkins said. “In all three games, we've been bullied.”
Muhammad scored a game-high 24 points and made five three-pointers, Ardarius Gates had 13 points and Staples finished with nine for Oakland Tech (1911).
Money Williams led Oakland with 17 points. Josh Clark and Anthony Lacy each had eight points.
The game was tight most of the way. Tie score at halftime. Six-point lead for Oakland in the third quarter, a two-point edge going to the fourth after Muhammad followed a putback with a buzzer-beating layup.
“I worked on my shot all day today, and I worked on it all day yesterday, too,” Muhammad said. “So I'm not really surprised I made those shots.”
Tech opened the fourth period on a 7-0 run. But as had been the case this season, Tech couldn't put away Oakland until the end.
In the girls game, Tech — the defending CIF Division III state champions — dominated AIMS College Prep (16-5) from the tipoff.
The powerhouse team led 34-2 after one quarter and by 65 at halftime.
Tech (25-5) stopped pressing in the second quarter and played its reserves for most of the second half.
“We're a good team, and I don't think they've played anyone at our level this year, which showed,” Oakland Tech coach Leroy Hurt said.
Tech's Erin Sellers led all scorers with 26 points, and Ojiugo Egeonu had 16 points for AIMS.