Piedmont boys basketball beats St. Joseph’s, splits with San Leandro

A.J. Harris (15) and Brit Burden (23) play defense

Piedmont High School’s boys basketball team split a pair of games with San Leandro, sandwiched around a win over St. Joseph-Notre Dame. The Highlanders improved to 15-7 on the season with three tough matchups left.

On Jan. 28, Piedmont lost at San Leandro, 81-66. A.J. Harris fouled out early in the fourth quarter and the Highlanders weren’t able to keep up with the Pirates at the end. Harris led the team with 21 points, despite having to play limited minutes. Brit Burden had 13 and Declan Linnane added 10.

San Leandro had six players in double-figures. Dakyirick Kennedy led the Pirates with 17. Myles Gilder and Taison Kilgore each had 14. Janyniele Jackson had 13, Jonieke Nwamuo 12 and Kenyon Demuynck 10.

In addition to losing Harris to fouls, the Highlanders also struggled shooting the ball, this time from the free throw line as well as from long distance. Outside of Harris, they made just 15 of 25 from the line.

“Other than University (85), I think that’s the most points we’ve given up all year,” Piedmont coach Ben Spencer said. “It was a six-eight point game when A.J. fouled out.”

The game was a makeup from Jan. 4, when inclement weather caused a postponement.

The night before, the Highlanders defeated visiting St. Joseph, 67-43. Harris had 28 points and Burden 18. Gabe Enyinwa led the Pilots with 16 points while Jayden Fajardo scored 14.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well again but our defense and rebounding were good,” Spencer said.

The Highlanders were expected to be a strong shooting team from outside this year, but have struggled in the games.

“At this point our sample size is large enough as a team, we’re not shooting the ball very well,” Spencer said. “Guys are getting looks. We’re moving the ball better this year than at any point last year. We’re making passes, we’re getting open, but guys are not making shots.”

Spencer said the team is shooting 29.7 percent from 3-point range on the season.

On Jan. 25, Piedmont defeated San Leandro at home, 61-44. It was an entirely different game from the road matchup, as the Highlanders built a 20-point lead and played its bench in the fourth quarter.

Piedmont finishes the regular season against league rivals Alameda on Feb. 2, Bishop O’Dowd on Feb. 7, and Berkeley on Feb. 10.

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