In an overtime thriller, the Berkeley High School boys varsity basketball team beat Bishop O’Dowd High School for the first time since 2008, in a 57-55 win.
Berkeley got off to a solid start as juniors Ollie Miller and Samir O’Brien shot the ball well, and junior Will Polishuk controlled the glass, dominating with rebounds. Juniors Jimmy Bush and Amani Shea created havoc on the defensive end. “We have a lot of defensive practices,” Bush said.
Head coach Mike Hudson credited Miller and Polishuk for setting the tone defensively in practice. “They push guys, and when they’re solid defensively, it just boosts the confidence of everybody else,” Hudson said.
Some costly Berkeley turnovers helped spark an O’Dowd run, and the game stayed close.
With 5.2 seconds left in regulation, and the game tied, Berkeley looked like it had the final shot, but the inbounding pass was stolen.
With four seconds left, O’Dowd floated a shot at the buzzer, nearly breaking the hearts of Berkeley fans, but the ball went in and out, and the game went to overtime.
In overtime, Berkeley finished strong with Miller and O’Brien finishing with 19 and 11 points respectively.
After the final buzzer sounded, many students from the student section stormed the court, celebrating with the players. Although Berkeley and O’Dowd have met plenty of times in the past, this win broke a previous 21 game losing streak against O’Dowd for Berkeley, so there was additional excitement for this win.
Paloma Canalis, a O’Dowd alum, was among the O’Dowd fans who were shocked at the outcome of this game. “I was an O’Dowd student and (am an) alumni, and I’ve never witnessed this moment before, (this is) very historic,” Canalis said.
Hudson praised the crowd’s energy. He said, “The kids feed off (the crowd), and we need that moving forward. Hopefully the students continue to come. We have a special team. If they can continue to come, they’re going to see some great basketball.”
“Any time you beat O’Dowd, you gotta take it as beating one of the toughest teams in Northern California …It was a great win, but we know we’re in a tough league, so we can’t have no let downs,” Hudson said.
Shea later remarked, “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. The job is not finished.”