By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
SONOMA — Summerfield Waldorf basketball is now more than Ilan Zur, and that could mean a small-school section playoff run for the Mustangs.
While the scoring machine again led Summerfield Waldorf during its 66-60 opening-round playoff win over Archbishop Hanna, the Mustangs prevailed largely because Zur’s teammates forced the Hawks to defend across the floor. Open shots and second-chance points off rebounds followed.
“Lately teammates have been stepping up and doing more. We’ve got more of an offense now,” Zur said. “It takes pressure off me.”
Not that Zur can’t carry his team, scoring 11 of his game high 29 in the decisive fourth quarter.
Going into the final period, Archbishop Hanna led by a basket. After coming back from an early nine-point deficit, the Hawks appeared to seize momentum.
“We were playing better on defense. We just couldn’t hold them off in the end,” said Kendrick Davis, who led Archbishop Hanna with 18 on the night. The Small School Bridge League foes figured to play a tough, close contest. The teams split a pair of regular-season games, both winning on the road.
Wednesday’s game was played at lower seeded Archbishop Hanna because the gym Summerfield Waldorf uses was not available. Meeting in an opening-round North Coast Section Division 6 playoff game wasn’t ideal.
“It’s not the best draw. But we got a home game as a lower seed,” said Archbishop Hanna coach Courtney Jackson.
Summerfield Waldorf wasn’t intimidated about having to win on the road after winning another league title.
“The kids had a good year, and it’s great that they’re still playing,” said Summerfield Waldorf coach Mike Carroll.
The teams respect one another and played a spirited brand of basketball.
A 10-point first quarter from Zur led the Mustangs to a fast start and first-period advantage.
Then the Hawks found their wings. Better pushes on offense fueled by steals and active rebounding helped Archbishop Hanna tie the game at the half with Davis scoring 10 of his points in the second quarter.
Armani Perry had the Hawks on a roll in the third period, including a pair of scores on fast breaks triggered by steals. Perry finished with 16.
“These guys go out hard every night and it’s kind of hard to defend us,” Jackson said. “It’s win or go home. I think that brings out the best in both teams.”
It was Summerfield Waldorf playing with a sense of urgency in the final period. “We had a completely new intensity.” Zur said. “We got inside more. Guys were cutting more and that just opened things up.”
Coming alive down the stretch was Cameron Nielsen, one of Summerfield Waldorf’s most improved players. The post player scored a dozen of his 16 in the second half.
The last tie was at 53-53. Summerfield Waldorf then went on an 11-2 run to take control late.
Now the Mustangs go on the road again, to Ferndale, in hopes of keeping their season alive.
“As a team we’re playing as well as we have all year,” Zur said.