Something was missing that made the Kennedy High gym peculiarly quiet in the first half Friday night. Fortunately for the Golden Cougars, who led by just two points at halftime against surprising El Camino Real, it appeared in the second half.
It was not cheerleaders, a public-address announcer or an ample supply of fans. They were there from the start. Absent was the jump shot of the player whose name is pronounced several ways--all crowd-stimulating. A sampling:
Public-address announcer Joey Haim: "Basket by UUUUUUUUUUU--ba Satterfield."
Scream from cheerleaders: U-U-U- UUUUU --ba."
Satterfield, on mostly jump shots, scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the noisier second half as the Golden Cougars repelled El Camino Real, 69-54, in a Valley League game at Kennedy.
"When the game is close, we want to get the ball to Uba," teammate Leon Ware said. "When he hits a shot, the crowd gets going."
Said Haim: "When Uba gets hot, I can get our fans yelling his name. Against Fairfax, when he hit a shot, the whole side of our bleachers yelled his name, 'UUUUUUUUUU--ba.' "
What does Satterfield think of the applause?
"I like it, but to be honest I rarely pay attention to it," said Satterfield, who hit his last five shots. "If I listen, then my concentration is gone.
"And we are not going to lose another game. Our goal is to keep playing until March."
The win was the third in a row for Kennedy (14-2, 6-2 in league play) and puts the Golden Cougars two games ahead of Taft for third place in the league. El Camino Real (3-12, 2-6) has lost six of its past eight games.
In a contest featuring teams headed in different directions, one could have mistakenly identified them for a while. Kennedy took an early 11-7 lead but was outscored, 16-2, at the end of the first quarter and the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second.
But as fast as the Conquistadores turned the five-point deficit into a 10-point advantage, their lead disappeared.
Kennedy scored the last 14 points of the half, six by Cord Bailey, to pull ahead, 25-23.
The decisive third quarter was marked by the disappearance of high-scoring El Camino Real forward Brent Lofton, who picked up his fourth foul one minute into the period, and the emergence of Clarence Williams, Kennedy's powerful inside man.
Williams, who did not score in the first half, missing all seven of his shots, turned it around in the third quarter by scoring 8 of his 10 points as Kennedy led, 44-31, by the end of the period.
Williams, who began the game wearing a pair of goggles for the first time, saw to it that there would be a turnaround. He took the goggles off for the second half.
"I couldn't see with those things," he said. "They fogged up from the heat of the gym."
Lofton, who averages 20 points a game, sat out the third quarter but returned in the fourth to score 8 of his 16 points. But it was too late.
Andre Mcdory added 12 for El Camino Real and Kennedy received 13 from Eugene Miller.