De Anza Beats Butte, Loses to Sierra
The De Anza Men’s Basketball team completed a busy week of basketball, with a trip over the hill to Cabrillo College, where they took part in the Cabrillo Shoot-out last Saturday and Sunday. The Dons opened on Saturday evening against Butte College and closed with Sierra College on Sunday.
Against Butte College, the Dons stormed out to a big first half lead, mostly on the back of freshman big man Abu Tratter, who has been playing his best basketball of the season.
De Anza was tenacious on defense, barely giving the Butte players room to breathe. The Dons’ zone press forced the Roadrunners into turning the ball over numerous times.
At the other end of the floor, De Anza was getting every shot it wanted. The recent storm had brought a torrent of rain to the Santa Cruz Coast and the Dons rained down a torrent of three point shots in the first half.
Freshman wing Deryck Ylanan and freshman guard Nick Ruotolo torched Butte from outside the arc. For the game, De Anza would knock down a very efficient 7 three-point shots out of the 11 it attempted. The three point shot was often times set up by big man Abu Tratter who, when not scoring on the interior, was kicking the ball out to open shooters.
In the second half, Butte would close the gap to two points but freshman point guard Dawson Johnson took it to the heart of the Butte defense, either finishing inside or going to the free throw line. Johnson would finish the game with 24 points while shooting 9-11 from the foul line.
Late in the game, with the game still in the balance, George Henderson led a 3 on 1 fast break with guards Nick Ruotolo and Denzel Copeland running to the wings. Henderson found Copeland wide open on the left wing and delivered a pin point pass. Copeland took the delivery and knocked down the three point shot, extending the lead that Butte would never get close to again. De Anza closed out Butte College 78-70.
De Anza v. Sierra College
In what was essentially the championship game, De Anza took on an athletic and skilled Sierra College team on Sunday. The Wolverines attacked the Dons from all angles early on.
Sierra would build a 16 point lead in the blink of an eye. Head Coach Jason Damjanovic was forced to take early timeouts in order to stem the flow of Wolverine scoring. But like in previous games, the Dons were never out of the game.
A scoring flurry by sophomore Nolan Williams helped to lead the Dons back. Williams scored from all angles; shooting from the perimeter, driving to the basket and soaring through the air on a momentum turning lob dunk. A run of defensive stops brought the Dons back into striking distance and at the half; De Anza only trailed by a bucket.
In the second half, the game bounced back and forth with both teams garnering the lead over the first five minutes. Williams continued his scoring rampage and would keep the game close but an injury to Shaquille Gilbert and missed opportunities would take the venom out of the Don’s bite.
The Wolverines stretched the lead out to 8 points with just over a minute remaining, forcing the Dons to foul. De Anza and Sierra traded baskets over the remaining seconds with Sierra prevailing in the end, 82-72.
The Dons are currently 3-3 and will play The College of the Sequoias, at the Foothill College Tournament, on Friday Dec. 7 at 8 pm.
For more information and updates on De Anza Men’s Basketball, follow us on Twitter @DeAnzaMensBBALL.