It’s a brand new season for the Justin-Siena High School boys basketball team.
The Braves, who finished in fifth place in the Marin County Athletic League, started off the CIF North Coast Section Division IV playoffs with the look of a team that wants to go places.
Craig Moore scored 20 points, Alexander Aquino had 16 points, Marcus Armstrong-Brown had 15 points, and Derek Wrenn had 13 points as No. 7 seed Justin-Siena won its first-round postseason game, 77-65 over No. 10 Piedmont at Clark Gym Wednesday night.
The Braves (16-12 overall) were very good at the free-throw line, as Moore was 9-of-10 from the line, Wrenn was 4-for-4, and Armstrong-Brown was 3-for-3.
Justin-Siena was 13-of-19 from the line in the fourth quarter, holding off Piedmont (15-12 overall) when the Highlanders closed to within six points.
“It’s a great win,” said Braves’ coach Ray Particelli. “As a team, I was never disappointed in my kids.
“But as a team, we were a little bit disappointed in our year. We talked about, hey, we still have time to make a little noise. So let’s go out there and play with a lot of heart. The kids did a great job of that.”
In a high-tempo game, Justin-Siena was ahead 20-19 in the first quarter, 36-26 at halftime, and 53-50 at the end of the third period.
The Braves were behind by one point in the third period.
“I don’t think we took any possessions off,” said Particelli. “I think on the defensive end we stayed really focused. They had a couple of kids that could score.
“We had a good idea what they were going to do. Offensively, we took care of the ball. When we get good looks, we’re a good shooting team.”
Zane Purewal and Nathan Krill each scored five points.
Justin-Siena moves on to a quarterfinal-round game Saturday at No. 2 seed Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa at 7 p.m. Newman won last night, beating Cloverdale, 75-46.
Piedmont, which plays in the West Alameda County-Shoreline League, was led by James Ormond with 18 points, Dylan James-Kavanaugh with 12 points, Adam Wuebbens with 11, Joseph Powell with eight and Aidan Davison with six.