Valley Christian ends Piedmont boys basketball season

Ravi Silverberg (3) and Declan Linnane during the NCS Championship game against University on Feb. 27. (Photo by Todd Marshburn)

Piedmont High School’s boys basketball team had a short stay in the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs, losing at Valley Christian-San Jose 72-43 on Feb. 27.

It was the second playoff berth for the Highlanders. They also made the tournament in 2020.

Piedmont finished the season 20-11. The team came a long way from a 5-5 start.

“Part of me feels that we overachieved so much this year that getting to play at USF, playing University (in the North Coast Section Division 3 championship game), well, this is house money here,” Highlanders coach Ben Spencer said.

“This was the biggest group of over-achievers I’ve ever coached. Thorin (Holmes) was my (starting) power forward. Coming in to the season, I said Thorin Holmes will be a key reserve, coming off the bench for seven minutes a game. Arjun Bornstein is 5-7, my first guy off the bench. They were two big pieces of our team.”

Thorin Holmes and Dillon Casey (12) during the NCS Championship game against University on Feb. 27. (Photo by Todd Marshburn)

Piedmont was able to hang with Valley Christian for a quarter. It didn’t start out very auspicious. Spencer said his game plan was to try to take away layups from the Warriors and dare them to hit 3-pointers. Instead, the first two plays of the game ended in Valley Christian layups.

“Almost asleep,” Spencer said. “We looked slow. It looked like your first scrimmage of the season. We actually looked like the team we were the first 10 games.”

Piedmont was a little hindered when Dillon Casey had to miss practice the day before the game with the flu. He played but not at 100 percent.

But the malaise was team-wide.

“Valley Christian played well,” Spencer said. “It seemed like they were faster. The energy, the heart and passion that we played with the last 20 games wasn’t there. It’s not like they didn’t try. Loose balls they were diving on the floor.

“Where we lacked in athleticism, depth and skill, we made up in our passion and work ethic. We were able to win 20 games. The fact that they were able to do that with this squad goes to how good our defense was and our attention to detail.”

Brit Burden led the way with 19 points. Casey, normally the No. 2 scorer on the team, was held to four. Ravi Silverberg had eight points and Declan Linnane added six.

It was 17-13 after the first quarter but the Warriors pulled away in the second period thanks in part to dead-eye shooting from 3-point range, building a 32-17 lead at halftime. It was 56-32 after three. Tzahari Trevino led Valley Christian with 24 points.

After the loss in the NCS Division 3 final to University, Spencer said he was as proud of this team as he was of his NCS Division 4 title team in 2020.

“So proud of this group and these guys and how hard they battled every night,” he said. “It was awesome.”

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