If Palisades High could pass along a message to the Valley League, it would be this: Don’t try to play a zone defense against Kennedy.
Palisades made that mistake Wednesday night and it cost the Dolphins a chance to win their own tournament for the fourth time in 12 years. The Dolphins’ zone collapsed in the second half and opened the way for 6-1 guard Uba Satterfield to demonstrate his skill.
Satterfield scored a season-high 30 points to lead Kennedy to a 58-49 victory in the championship game of the Palisades tournament at Pepperdine.
The Golden Cougars, who compete in the tough Valley League in the City Section 4-A Division, won the title for the second consecutive year and improved their record to 9-0. Palisades dropped to 6-4.
“If teams are going to play zone defense and collapse on our big men, Uba is going to get his points,” Kennedy Coach Yutaka Shimizu said. “This was his best shooting game.”
Although Satterfield has been one of the team’s leading scorers, he needed a game like this as a confidence-builder.
“I had to prove to myself that I’m capable of putting the ball into the basket,” Satterfield said. “When I felt it and knew I could hit it, I put it up. I never felt so confident as before this game.”
Satterfield scored 20 of his points in the second half, including 11 in a pivotal third quarter. He scored six of the first eight points in the third period and Kennedy jumped out to an eight-point lead, 30-22. That lead quickly grew to 16 points early in the fourth quarter as Palisades tried vainly to stop Satterfield.
“They lost their intensity,” Satterfield said. “They weren’t pushing the ball up the court in the second half. You could see it in their eyes. They were intimidated.”
One of Kennedy’s main intimidators was 6-5, 220-pound center Clarence Williams, who had five points and 10 rebounds. Williams, a senior, was selected the tournament’s most valuable player. It was the second year in a row he made the all-tournament team.
Forward Leon Ware, a 6-4 senior, was the other muscle man in the middle with eight points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
As impressive as Satterfield’s scoring performance was, he fell far short of the tournament record for most points. Leon Wood, now with the San Antonio Spurs, scored 51 points while playing for St. Monica in 1978.
Guard James Dudley led Palisades with 21 points and center Paul Garrett added 16.
Kennedy and Palisades have combined to win the past four Palisades tournaments. The Dolphins won in 1984 and 1985.
The score was tied at halftime, 22-22, and neither team had led by more than three.
Garrett and Dudley combined to score 20 of Palisades’ points in the first half, and they teamed for 17 more in the second half.
Ultimately, though, Satterfield’s shooting made the difference.
“My teammates helped me a lot,” Satterfield said. “They really worked the ball around and I was able to get my shot.”