By RICHARD J. MARCUS
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
WINDSOR — After starting out slowly in the first few minutes, Analy erupted for a 24-5 first half run over a span of 10 minutes to catapult the Tigers to a convincing 68-56 first-round win over Washington (Fremont) in the third annual Windsor Shootout boys’ basketball tournament on Thursday night.
“After the beginning of the game we were fighting from behind for the entire night,” Washington coach Mike Tripp said. “Analy is very good and well-coached.”
The win sends Analy (6-5) into the Championship bracket of the eight-team tournament. The Tigers play Palo Alto in a semifinal today at 6 p.m. Palo Alto defeated Maria Carrillo on Thursday 57-41. The Pumas play their second-round game in the Consolation bracket against Washington (5-6) Friday at 3 p.m.
“We are going against a very good team in Palo Alto,” Analy coach Brett Page said. “I would say we are not favored in that game (Friday). I like being the underdog.”
In other first-round games on Thursday, host Windsor defeated Northgate (Walnut Creek), 44-35, and McKinleyville defeated Vanden (Fairfield), 78-63. McKinleyville plays Windsor in a Championship semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Northgate and Vanden play a Consolation semifinal Friday at 4:30 p.m.
“The Championship bracket should have two pretty good games,” Windsor coach Travis Taylor said. “McKinleyville moves the ball well, they get out and run and shoot the ball well. I think our guys are up for it. We will see Friday night.”
Back to Analy’s victory, the Tigers came out slow and trailed 10-5 halfway through the first quarter. The Tigers then went on a scoring binge behind the sharpshooting of Josiah Sorenson (21 points to lead all scorers) and Mohannad Halaweh (19 points).
“I don’t think No. 35 (Halaweh) missed a shot tonight,” Tripp said. “Analy has quality guys at every position.”
Caleb Baskett led Washington with 12 points in the first 16 minutes, but Analy made defensive adjustments at halftime to limit Baskett to only three second-half points. Baskett had 15 points for the game to lead the Huskies.
“He (Baskett) was really good. We switched on defense (for the second half),” Page said. “We had one of our best defenders (Gabe Greenberg-Pines) guarding him (Baskett) and had one of our big guys always shading him.”
Analy built its lead to 60-41 with 4:19 to play in the fourth quarter before the Huskies scored nine straight points to close to 60-50 with 2:37 to play. Washington, however, didn’t have any gas left in the tank after its late run and could pull no closer to the Tigers in the final two minutes.
Analy had a balanced effort offensively, hitting long shots (seven 3-pointers) but also pounding the ball for inside buckets. “We were able to take advantage of them (Washington) overplaying us defensively.”
Despite Analy having taller players across the board, both coaches said the Tigers height advantage was not a factor.
“Our height is not our strength,” Page said. “Right now we are working on getting our tall guys stronger.”
Analy owned the boards with a 35-17 advantage in rebounds. The Tigers shot 52 percent from the field compared to 27 percent shooting for Washington.
The Huskies, however, had a decisive edge in free throws, 23 for 28, compared to 11 for 20 for the Tigers. Analy, however, converted its free throws down the stretch when it needed to in the fourth quarter.
“We got it down to eight or 10 points towards the end but then Analy hit the front end of their free throws,” Tripp said.