The season-long objective for University High’s basketball team is one of gradual growth.
The Cubs, the top-rated team in Division II, took another step in that direction with a wire-to-wire 48-26 road victory Friday over The Dunham School.
“I think overall we’re playing pretty good,” U-High basketball coach Joe Spencer said. “It’s always a challenge to try to improve as the season goes on until the playoffs. Usually that’s what we’re able to do. That’s what we’re striving for.”
U-High (18-2) extended its win streak to eight straight games with a recipe that had a good aftertaste: balanced scoring and a stifling defense.
Forward Collin Coates was one of three players in double figures for the Cubs with 11 points followed by Zaren James and Bryce Brown with 10 apiece and Brock Brown with nine.
Dunham, the No. 2 team in Division III, dropped its fourth straight game in trying to adjust to playing without senior leader Carlos Stewart, who suffered a knee injury in a loss to St. Thomas More. Without 34 points per game from the Santa Clara signee, the Tigers (11-10) were limited to nine field goals, 28 percent shooting and turned the ball over 20 times.
Chase Augustus led Dunham with 10 points.
“It’s where we are,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “We still have seniors on the team that need to play with more composure. The fact of the matter is we’ve got to make shots. We have guys who are supposed to be shooters, and we just don’t make shots.”
U-High handled Dunham’s mix of 2-3 and 2-1-2 zone looks and shot 58 percent to build a comfortable 28-12 halftime advantage.
After the game’s lone tie at 3-all — courtesy of a 3-pointer from Dunham’s Henry Hays — U-High took control with a 10-0 run over the next four minutes of the first quarter for a 15-5 lead.
The Cubs complemented their high-percentage shooting with 2-1-2 full-court pressure that produced 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
Bryce Brown converted a steal into a layup to close the first quarter and his twin brother Brock Brown also picked up a steal and scored four straight points that made it 23-8 at the 3:25 mark.
James’ 3-pointer provided a 28-12 lead at halftime which U-High stretched to 42-17 through three quarters when a 3-pointer from Coates ignited a 10-2 run. James turned consecutive turnovers into five points with back-to-back driving layups — capped by a three-point play with 48.3 seconds left.
The Cubs led by as many as 29 points (46-17) with 5:17 remaining on a pair of free throws from Bryce Brown.
“Hopefully, we haven’t hit our peak yet and we kept getting better and better,” Spencer said.