Deer Valley High's Kendall Smith poured in 32 points and the host Wolverines won an intense Bay Valley Athletic League battle over Freedom 80-74 on Friday night.
Smith had 19 points in the second half as Deer Valley (14-6, 4-0 BVAL) took over sole possession of first place, which it shared with the Falcons (15-5, 3-1) entering the night.
"The league has been tough so far. There's a lot of good teams in our league, so we needed to get this one," Wolverines coach LeChet Phillips said. "We've played every team but Pittsburg, and it was big to get this one off Freedom, because they're going to be tough down the stretch."
After trailing by 11 points after the first quarter, Freedom rallied to tie the game late in the second, and it was close the rest of the way.
The Falcons took their first lead of the game at 55-54 with 6 minutes, 28 seconds left on a reverse layup by James O'Neal, who had 28 points.
The game was tied four times before Deer Valley took the lead for good on a three-point play by Marcus Lee that made it 66-63 with 3:56 left.
Freedom got back within two at 70-68 on a Joe Mixon 3-pointer. Deer Valley boosted the lead to four on two free throws by Olajuwon Garner (20 points) with 2:52 to play and maintained at least a three-point lead the rest of the way.
The Wolverines were explosive in the first quarter, jumping out to a 20-9 lead. They had a 38-35 advantage at halftime.
Lee finished with 10 points,
Freedom's Elliot Smith added 23 points.
Tracy 55, Chavez 54: The host Bulldogs were held scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the final period but still held on to beat the Titans in a San Joaquin Athletic Association contest.
Tracy's T.J. Williams scored 40 seconds into the fourth quarter, then capped a 9-0 run with what proved to be the winning basket with 13 seconds remaining.
Teammate Justin Phelps sealed the win when he stole the ball after a Titans inbounds pass with four seconds remaining.
Chavez (13-9, 3-2) had the game in hand with a 55-54 lead and an inbounds pass with 22.9 seconds remaining, but stellar defense by Ryan Black forced a five-second violation that yielded the ball to the Bulldogs (8-11, 2-3).
-- Dave Campbell, correspondent
Berkeley 59, Alameda 30: The visiting Hornets scored the first two points, but the Yellowjackets responded with 11 straight points and led by a comfortable margin for most of the rest of game.
With her team trailing 2-0, Berkeley coach Cheryl Draper called a timeout just 1:48 into the game.
"I didn't like our energy, I didn't like our passing, I didn't like the decisions we were making," said Draper. "I told them we had to focus and do the things we did in practice."
The Yellowjackets (17-2, 6-0 Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League) certainly responded. Garysha Youngblood tied the score on an offensive rebound to start the 11-0 run, and a layup by Janee Gooden gave Berkeley the lead to stay.
The Yellowjackets' Elisha Davis scored 10 of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter. She also had five 3-pointers in the game. Alameda was paced in scoring by Marie Bertholdt with 10 points.
The league matchup was between two ranked teams in the Bay Area News Group East Bay girls basketball poll. Berkeley is ranked third and Alameda (13-6, 3-2) is tied for 12th.
-- Phil Jensen
Albany 3, St. Mary's 0: The road to the Bay Shore Athletic League title will once again go through Albany after the Cougars beat the host Panthers.
Albany scored in the sixth minute en route to handing St. Mary's its first loss of the season.
"Scoring early was certainly a lift for the boys," Albany coach Ko Douglas said. "It was a good win and the boys came ready to play today."
Gabriel Borges was taken down in the box and scored on the ensuing penalty kick to give the Cougars (9-3-5, 7-0-2 BSAL) the lead. Borges capped the scoring in the 70th minute as he buried another penalty kick.
Borges also created the second goal with a great feed to Andre Alvarez, whose bullet to the far post found the net in the 57th minute.
Trailing 1-0, St. Mary's (6-1-5, 5-1-3) nearly got even in the 49th minute as a laser shot by Duncan Jones from 35 yards ricocheted off the cross bar.
Albany is now five points ahead of St. Mary's with two weeks left in the regular season. The Panthers' loss leaves Concord as the only undefeated team left in the East Bay.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent