Roosevelt High’s latest escape at home against North Yosemite League rival Fresno in boys basketball reached another level Friday night.
Nine days after they rallied from 17 points down in the second half to defeat the Warriors 72-69 in overtime for an NYL title tie, the Rough Riders received 23 points and 14 rebounds from Bryson Williams — nearly all in the second half — to edge Fresno 52-51 in the Central Section Division II quarterfinals before a capacity crowd.
Williams, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound commit to Fresno State as a junior, took over against undersized Fresno with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the second half.
Yet, for all his might, he watched in horror under the basket in the final seconds as the Warriors missed a close-range shot and two tips.
Never miss a local story.
“Fresno’s a really tough team — really tough — with great chemistry,” said Williams, who was defended for the most part by 6-2, 165-pound Jeremiah Quinn, the tallest player for the Warriors, who gave away an average of about 4 inches per player.
“Hats off to Fresno High — they compete, I love they way they play,” said Riders first-year coach Jamarr Chisom, whose 24-4 and fourth-seeded team will play at No. 1 Mission Oak (28-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The fifth-seeded Warriors, meanwhile, closed a 24-4 season in arguably the most overachieving performance in the section.
They lost Bee Outstanding Offensive Player Daryl Edwards and his 24.5-point average from a 28-5 team that beat Roosevelt 62-61 for the D-III title — Fresno’s first in 34 years — after getting swept by the Riders in the NYL.
“Nobody expected us to do this,” Warriors coach Carvell Wafer said. “We lost a lot (from last year), but our guys play so hard and together. Our basketball family is real tight.”
Lee Major, a 6-1 sophomore, delivered 11 points and 16 rebounds, Gabriel Castillo and Brandon Verdialez each had 10 points and Quinn added nine points and nine rebounds for Fresno, which roared from an 18-9 first-quarter deficit to lead 27-25 at halftime.
The Warriors took advantage of the second-quarter absence of Williams and Brian King Jr., who combined were averaging 50 points per game. They missed a total of 13 minutes in the second quarter with two fouls apiece.
“It’s always tough to sit either of them anytime,” said Chisom, who assisted for a total of eight years at Edison and Roosevelt. “It’s tough, but it’s something you’ve got to do. It’s a game of runs and I’d rather have them in the fourth quarter than lose them in the third.”
King, a senior and Roosevelt’s career-leading scorer, had gone scoreless in the second and third quarters before making two baskets, giving the Riders a 46-41 lead early in the fourth. He finished with 11 points.