Gunn boys basketball thriving in a 'rebuilding year'


It wasn’t supposed to be so easy.

The Gunn boys basketball team never trailed Saturday and ran away with a 70-46 victory over Wilcox in the championship game of the 61st annual James Lick Invitational.

Eli Russo
This is a team with only one returning starter, a team that was expected to experience some growing pains, one that was expected to have to take some time to find its way.

Instead, the Titans won three games at the JLIT by margins of 19 (77-58 over Pioneer), 24 (85-61 over James Lick) and 24 again in the final versus a Wilcox team that handed Gunn one of its three losses last season.

Gunn coach Brandynn Williams wasn’t sure what to make of it.

“I don’t know,’’ he said. “I just want us to play the right way and focus on fundamentals.’’

Gunn (3-0) returns to action Wednesday against Del Mar at the Los Gatos Tournament.

Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich scored 26 points to lead Gunn and was named tournament MVP. He said he thought ball movement was a key to the team’s success.

“Definitely we played as a team,’’ Lee-Heidenreich said. “We lost a lot of good individual talent off last year’s team. It’s important for us to move the ball around.’’

Eli Russo came off the bench after Demario Shepard had to sit due to foul trouble and scored 19 points. Shepard had scored 37 points over the first two games of the tournament.

“It’s really a team thing,’’ Russo said. “This team is full of `we-guys,’ not `I-guys.’ It’s all about having fun. If one guy does well everybody is cheering for him.’’

The last time the score was even was at 6-6. Gunn led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter, 38-27 at halftime and 58-41 after three quarters.

“Wilcox is a good team,’’ Williams said. “We just hit our shots.’’

Lee-Heidenreich scored 70 points over the three games. He is headed to Princeton as a high jumper for the track and field team.

“They have two track seasons, indoor and outdoor,’’ he said. “So this is my last year playing basketball I just want to try to have some fun and enjoy myself.’’


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