It turned out it wasn’t enough as the Hawks fell 59-53 as the Bulldogs staged a strong fourth-quarter comeback effort.
“To Sobrato’s credit they just kept coming,” said coach Kort Jensen. “Our young kids made a lot of mistakes, but we have to play them or they won’t get better.”
But it was one game and one that doesn’t count. Jensen said he told his team losing the friendly is not the end of the world just as winning the Sportsmanship Game was not a goal for the season
“You saw we have some real flaws and holes and things to iron out,” Jensen said.
Last year, Oakwood did the same thing at Sobrato and still went on to sweep league play and went to the quarter finals of the CCS playoffs.
There it took a controversial call for the Hawks to bow out.
This year, Oakwood wants to have the same stretch, but it will do so with some younger players this season.
Oakwood said good-bye to two key seniors from last year who worked the post and helped facilitate the offense.
But the Hawks still have one of the best point guards in the area in Eshra, has a strong 2-4 guard in Miles Batey and a game-changing post player in Success.
“He’s way advanced for any post we’ve ever had,” Jensen said. “It’s a matter of learning how to use him and learning to have him in the right spot in the right time. You could be the most skilled player in the world, but if you are on the wrong spot on the floor and have four guys around you, it’s hard to let your skills show.”
Jensen said it will still be a work in progress as the youth of the team will have to play key roles
“Youssef is so good, that if we wanted to cut him loose and have him shoot 30 times per game, we’d probably only lose a few times all year,” Jensen said. “He’s that good. But to his credit, he humbles himself. He passes it, he gets everyone in the flow. But we have to do that with freshmen kids, otherwise they won’t get any better.”
Among those freshmen looking to make the team better is Ousmani Williams, who also plays the point as well as a two-guard.
“He can handle the ball really, really well,” Jensen said. “Against Gilroy, he was just dynamite. Tonight, there are some things he’ll learn from.”
Oakwood will run the gauntlet to start the season, opening the season against St. Patrick-St. Vincent out of Vallejo at the Kings Academy Tournament starting Thursday.
Oakwood will also play North Monterey County, Alisal and others in tournaments and heads up during this season.
It will all culminate in the start of Mission Trail Athletic League play on Jan. 8 against Pacific Collegiate. The Hawks have a 21-0 streak going in league play, after sweeping league opponents the last
But it all will come down to the playoffs where Oakwood has bowed out in its first game each of the last three years.
Last year it came down to a controversial call at the end, but Jensen said that call didn’t cost them an eight-point third quarter lead. He said it’s time to move forward.