By Rahsaan Thomas, San Quentin News Sports Editor
Incredible, but true: The San Quentin Warriors defeated members of their namesake Golden State Warriors by four points, 92-88, in a hard-fought basketball game on the Lower Yard.
“You guys won the right to be called the ‘Real Warriors’ fair and square,” said the team’s assistant general manager, Kirk Lacob.
The September 26, 2014 visit attracted a crowd of some 300 inmates, guests and prison staff. It was Golden State’s third game at the prison, but the first time San Quentin won. In 2013 Mark Jackson and Brian Scalabrine played. In 2012, Draymond Green visited and signed autographs.
“This gives the guys something to look forward to,” said Public Information Officer, Lt. Sam Robinson. “Prison existence is mundane, these guys coming in here is nothing but uplifting.”
The Golden State team included assistant coaches and former NBA players Luke Walton and Jarron Collins, Golden State General Manager Bob Myers, Johnny “Logo” West (Jerry West’s son), Chris DeMarco, Nick Uren and Lacob.
The Golden State group was coached by head coach Steve Kerr the first half and assistant coach Alvin Gentry the second. The game remained close to the end.
With less than two minutes left in the game, Lacob knocked down a three-pointer, bringing Golden State to within one point at 89-88.
Then Lacob fouled Warriors point guard Joshua Burton. Burton made both clutch free throws leaving the score 91-88.
With thirty seconds left, Golden State fouled Burton again and he hit one free throw, giving San Quentin a four-point lead.
Walton went for the three-pointer from the top of the key and missed. Anthony Ammons rebounded the ball for San Quentin. Myers, who led Golden State with 27 points, fouled him hard stopping the clock at10 seconds.
“Bob Myers just committed his first felony with that foul there,” joked San Quentin commentator Aaron “Harun” Taylor.
Ammons missed both free throws. With time running out Golden State went for another three but missed, leaving San Quentin the winner at the buzzer.
“What makes basketball a beautiful sport is that it brings us all together,” said Kerr.
Active Golden State players Marreese “Mo” Speights, Ognjen Kuzmi and Festus Ezeli, who couldn’t play in the game because they are under contract, watched from the bench. Rookies Mitchell Watt from the University of Buffalo, Aaron Craft from Ohio State, and James McAdoo from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill also attended.
“This is the biggest event yet,” said inmate Robert Butler. “You have four generations of basketball players in here.”
The game was full of highlights.
Thad Fleeton, the 5’10” power forward for San Quentin, made an up and under layup in the middle of 6’6” and 7-foot competitors, taking a 26-24 lead early in the second quarter.
At the start of the fourth, with the score tied at 72-72. San Quentin Warrior’s Joshua Burton threw an alley-oop to Allan McIntosh for a tie-breaking slam-dunk. McIntosh led all scorers with 33 points.
“McIntosh was great,” Myers declared.
In the fourth quarter, Harry “ATL” Smith blocked Collins’ dunk attempt at the rim. The crowd erupted in cheers.
Smith finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds, showing his talent with a couple of monster jams and blocks. Collins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
“My players, after all the hard work and listening to my mouth, came through in a big way,” said inmate Daniel Wright, who coaches the San Quentin team.
The Warriors said they would be back next year to prove themselves after the loss.
“They beat us good.” Myers said. “It gives me more motivation for next year.”