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Warriors Erase 20-Point Hole, Beat Pelicans 123-119 in OT

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Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Quincy Pondexter (20) during the second half of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in New Orleans, Thursday, April 23, 2015. The Warriors won in overtime 123-119, to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Quincy Pondexter (20) during the second half of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in New Orleans, Thursday, April 23, 2015. The Warriors won in overtime 123-119, to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BY BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stephen Curry wasn’t about to turn down the music, or put any kind of damper on a giddy locker room celebration that seemed more reminiscent of a series-clinching triumph.

The Golden State Warriors still need one more victory to close out their first-round playoff series with New Orleans, yet couldn’t help but exchange congratulatory embraces after the stunning, character-defining rally they pulled off in Game 3.

Curry scored 40 points, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to complete a 20-point, fourth-quarter comeback, and the Warriors beat the Pelicans 123-119 in overtime Thursday night to take a 3-0 series lead.

“You know how big of a deal it is to come back from a deficit like that in the playoffs on the road, in a game we knew was very important for us to really take control of this series,” Curry said. “So I think we should celebrate the accomplishment.”

Curry hit seven 3s, including one to start overtime that gave the Warriors the lead for good.

Klay Thompson had 28 points for the Warriors, who trailed 89-69 after three quarters, then outscored New Orleans 39-19 over the next 12 minutes.

“We haven’t been in that position a lot this year, but mental toughness and resilience is probably (among) our best traits,” Thompson said. “It was an amazing way to finish the game.”

Golden State coach Steve Kerr called the comeback miraculous, and at least one statistic provided by the Warriors backed him up.

Since the NBA instituted the shot clock, Golden State had been down 20 to start a fourth quarter 358 previous times — and won none of those games.

Now the Warriors can end the series in Game 4 on Saturday night.

Anthony Davis had 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans, but his missed free throw with 9.6 seconds left — as the crowd chanted “M-V-P!” — allowed Curry’s late 3 to tie it.

The Pelicans expected Curry to shoot and his first attempt in the final seconds bounced out. But Marreese Speights corralled the offensive rebound and handed it to Curry in the corner. The Warriors’ sharp-shooter wasn’t going to miss twice, not even with defenders, including Davis, closing fast and running into him on his follow-through.

Kerr called the shot “as good as it gets.”

“To make that shot shows everything that Steph is about,” Kerr said, adding that officials could have called a foul, too. “His confidence level is just off the charts. He’s fearless. He wants every big shot.”

In a hallway outside the locker room after the game, Thompson playfully serenaded Curry with his own chants of “M-V-P!”

In the other locker room, there was largely stunned silence.

“There’s not that much you can say. We know what we did wrong,” Davis said. “We’ve got to try to get our minds right for Saturday.”

Davis had a chance to tie it in the final seconds of overtime, but Warriors center Andrew Bogut forced him into a difficult driving shot, which missed badly.

Davis said he was trying to be aggressive but that it never should have come to that.

“Against a team like this, you can’t relax,” Davis said. “You’ve got to keep being aggressive and we missed shots. … We’ve got to do a better job executing and following our game plan, especially late in the game.”

Ryan Anderson, who had hit only two of 11 shots through the first two games of the series, responded with 26 points in Game 3, making 10 of 14 shots.

His second 3-pointer with 1:11 left in overtime pulled the Pelicans to 119-118. Soon after, the Pelicans had a chance to take the lead, but Eric Gordon’s attempt to surprise the Warriors with a quick 3 backfired.

Draymond Green had 12 points and 17 rebounds for Golden State, which finished with 22 offensive rebounds and 30 second-chance points.

Shaun Livingston had 12 points and Harrison Barnes added 11.

Tyreke Evans had 19 points and Norris Cole added 16 for New Orleans, which lost despite outshooting the Warriors 51.1 percent (46 of 90) to 41.1 percent (42 of 104).

“You can’t sugarcoat it,” Pelican coach Monty Williams said. “We’re all feeling like dirt right now, so obviously you want to build them up, but there is nothing that can build you up in a situation like that. It can be a growth moment for us. … We’ve got to deal with it and own it.”

The Pelicans used a stunning 19-0 second-quarter run to open a double-digit lead that endured most of the game.

Davis started the surge with a putback dunk and Cole scored seven points during the run, including a 3 and reverse layup, the latter putting the Pelicans up 39-25.

New Orleans led by as many as 16 in the quarter before Golden State trimmed it to 63-52 at halftime, thanks in part to Thompson’s fifth 3.

TIP-INS

Warriors: F David Lee missed his third straight game, but coach Steve Kerr said he was “doing better” and expected to do some 3-on-3 work during practice on Friday.

Pelicans: Quincy Pondexter received a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing with officials after he was called for blocking on Curry. … New Orleans shot 59.6 percent (28 of 47) in the first half, including 5 of 11 from 3-point range.

BENCH SCORING

Pelicans reserves outscored Golden State’s 58-26, largely because of Anderson and Cole, as well as Jrue Holiday, who had 10 points.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Black History

IN MEMORIAM: Referee Jim Burch Got the Final Whistle in The Game

Jim Burch was also inducted into eight different halls of fame, including the CIAA John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame (February 2019). To recognize the hard work of student athletes who exemplify the qualities of academic excellence, involvement in public service, and love of athletic competition, Burch established the James T. Burch Scholarship.

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jim burch
Jim Burch

By Tamara Shiloh

Created in 1953, the Atlantic Coast Conference, an athletic conference headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., quickly rose to prominence. Within 13 years, the university and college teams in its membership had a number of victories to its credit. North Carolina State University won the first three championships, and the conference was getting heavy exposure outside of the region. Several ACC teams went to the Final Four of the NCAA’s basketball championships. In North Carolina, Duke University took four titles, Wake Forest University took two and University of North Carolina had one victory as did the University of Maryland.

Life inside the ACC could not have been better, except for one minor but not overlooked detail: there were no Black players or officials.

But Jim Burch (1926–2019), who began his officiating career with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1959, would become the first, signing on with the ACC in 1969. His debut, however, was delayed for a season because “he reportedly refused to cut his hair and sideburns.”

A Raleigh, N.C., native raised in Larchmont, N.Y., Burch was a 1949 graduate of North Carolina’s Fayetteville State University. There he was a two-sport athlete – football and baseball – having large dreams.

Burch “talked about sitting in the ‘colored’ section of Reynolds Coliseum watching games, telling his friends that he was going to be on that court someday,” ACC referee Jamie Luckie told ESPN in 2019 referring to the sports complex in Raleigh, N.C. “They said he was crazy, and sure enough, he was on that court one day.”

Burch never made a big deal out of the historic mark, although many would benefit from his humility. He would train and mentor hundreds of officials over the years. In fact, it was Burch who gave Luckie his start in refereeing.

Throughout his 60-year career, Burch officiated in the CIAA, ACC, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and Southern Conference. He also worked 14 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments and was an educator and administrator within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District.

Working as an educator made Burch “an unbelievable teacher of the game in terms of what he wanted us to do on the floor, how he wanted us to deal with coaches, how he wanted us to communicate, and just his delivery and style was one where he could get it across to you, but he was a teacher. That never stopped,” Luckie said.

Burch continued to make monumental achievements as well as give back.

Many of those he trained moved into CIAA, ACC, Southern Conference, and NCAA championship careers. He was twice featured in the NCAA Champions Magazine, served on numerous civic boards, and was the first African American to serve on the Charlotte Housing Authority board.

Burch was also inducted into eight different halls of fame, including the CIAA John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame (February 2019).

To recognize the hard work of student athletes who exemplify the qualities of academic excellence, involvement in public service, and love of athletic competition, Burch established the James T. Burch Scholarship.

Before retiring in 2018, he served as the head coordinator of officials for the South Atlantic Conference and the CIAA.

Burch died at his home in North Carolina in 2019 at the age of 91.

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Bay Area

Skyline High Girls Volleyball Team Makes History

The team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match.

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The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team
The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team.

As the season comes to a close for the Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team, the members are celebrating that they went farther than any Skyline or OUSD/OAL volleyball team ever has. On the final day, November 19, the team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match. Skyline fell short 3 games to 1, coming in as runner-up. The photo above shows the team posing with their trophy after the match.

 

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Commentary

OPINION: Would You Pressure Your Kid’s Coach to Apologize for Winning by 106-0?

“Regarding Inglewood H.S. vs. Morningside H.S. Friday night 10/29 game, we at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the IUSD stamen read. “We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”

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Inglewood Football Coach Mil’Von James (Nick Koza/Photo)
Inglewood Football Coach Mil’Von James (Nick Koza/Photo)

By Kenneth Miller | Inglewood Today

Coaches push the athletes they train to put their all into mastering the mental and physical aspects of their sport, preparing them to edge out competitors and perform at the height of their abilities.

But there are real-life situations, it seems, when attaining excellence proves to be too much – or maybe just not good enough.

This seems to have been the case October 29 when an impressive shut-out victory for Inglewood High School in Los Angeles County ended up turning into a bitter crosstown game of guilt, blame and grievances. That day, Inglewood High football coach and former Cleveland Browns defensive back Mil’Von James led his team to a 106-0 victory over rivals Morningside High School.

Since that shellacking, education authorities have blasted James and Inglewood High for being too focused on winning that they failed to exhibit a spirit of compassion and sportsmanship.

The California Interscholastic Federation -Southern Section (CIFSS), the governing body of high school athletics in the state, released a scathing statement regarding the wide margin of the game’s final score.

“The CIF Southern Section expects that all athletic contests are to be conducted under the strictest code of good sportsmanship. “We expect coaches, players, officials, administrators and students to adhere to the Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship,” CIF-SS fired off in a statement.

“A score of 106-0 does not represent these ideals,” the statement continued. “The CIF-SS condemns, in the strongest terms, results such as these. It is our expectation that the Inglewood administration will work towards putting in place an action plan so that an event such as this does not repeat itself.”

James, 38, said it was not his intention to degrade or demoralize the Morningside High team.

“I apologized for the way things turned out,” James said even though, during the game, he benched his defensive starters after the second quarter and most of his other frontline players in the second half.

But Inglewood continued to run up the score on its hapless opponent.

Anyone who knows James personally would know – and can attest to the fact — that his intent was never to bring shame to the game that he loves.

Coaches like James who have played college and pro football understand the fierce competitiveness it requires for young people to succeed when pursuing careers as professional athletes. They train their students to be warriors, to dominate their opponents. Varsity sports is the highest level of competition in high school.

Today, the advancement of training techniques and year-round coaching and development increases the likelihood that schools with the resources will outperform schools with sports programs that are underfunded or under-supported.

Since he became coach at Inglewood High three seasons ago, James has taken the team from a losing streak to being nearly undefeated. During that time, the team has moved from CIF-SS Division 13 to Division 2.

Inglewood student athletes have advantages in coaching and preparation that Morningside and many other schools do not.

James was a star on the football squad at Fremont High School in Los Angeles where he graduated in 2003. In college, he first played for the UNLV Rebels where he led the nation in passes; before transferring to UCLA and playing for the Bruins from 2003-2005.

After brief stints in the NFL and the Canadian Football League on the roster for the Cleveland Browns and the Vancouver Lions respectively, James began coaching high school football.

He is the founder and director of one of most successful ‘7 on 7’ leagues in the nation, responsible for scores of future and current high school, collegiate and professional players.

Chances are, if you have observed any top football program in California, you have you witnessed his impact on young players, their development and their unmatched leadership skills – on the field and off it.

The Inglewood Unified School District also blasted James and Inglewood High.

“Regarding Inglewood H.S. vs. Morningside H.S. Friday night 10/29 game, we at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the IUSD stamen read. “We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”

High school sports, in many schools, is a training ground for college and pro athletes. Schools that have better resources will always have an edge.

It is unfortunate that this incident has placed a dark cloud over a high school sports program. Inglewood High’s football program should be celebrated for its league championship and undefeated record in a school district that is still in state receivership.

Kenneth Miller is the publisher of Inglewood Today.

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